Indirect Effects of Child Reports of Teacher-Student Relationship on Achievement

Jan N. Hughes*, Jiun-Yu Wu, Oi Man Kwok, Victor Villarreal, Audrea Y. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The effect of student-reported teacher-student relationship quality (TSRQ) on academic motivation and achievement was investigated among a sample of 690 academically at-risk elementary students (52.8% male). Measures of TSRQ, achievement, and motivation were collected annually for 3 consecutive years, beginning when participants were in Grade 2 (24.8%) or Grade 3 (74.6%). Child-reported conflict was stable across the 3 years, whereas warmth declined. Boys and African American students reported greater conflict than did girls and Caucasian and Hispanic students. Girls and African American students reported higher warmth than boys and non-African American students. Using path analysis, the authors tested the hypothesis that measures of student motivation in Year 2 mediated the effects of conflict and warmth in Year 1 on reading and math achievement in Year 3. Child-perceived conflict predicted cross-year changes in teacher-rated behavioral engagement, which, in turn, predicted cross-year changes in reading and math achievement. Math competence beliefs also mediated the effect of child-perceived warmth on math achievement. Effects controlled for stability of measures across time, the within-wave association between measures, and baseline measures of IQ and economic adversity. Implications of findings for improving the academic achievement of students at-risk for school failure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-365
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2012


  • Academic motivation
  • Achievement
  • Elementary students
  • Teacher-student relationships

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