STUDENT EVALUATIONS OF INJUSTICE AT SCHOOL

S. Kanizsa, G. Mosconi, A. Garavaglia

UniversitĂ  degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (ITALY)
According to recent studies in the fields of psychology and education (Dalbert et al. 2007; Molinari et al., 2012; Kanizsa, Garavaglia & Mosconi 2013; Chory et al 2013;), students commonly report experiencing both justice and injustice at school; this occurs at all levels of education and arises most frequently in relation to the assessment methods and classroom management strategies adopted by teachers.

The aim of the current research was to explore student evaluations of injustice experienced at school based on retrospective recollections. Participants were 175 university students enrolled on three different degree programs (primary education, human resource development and engineering). The researcher asked each student to describe an episode of injustice from their past school experience.

The study used a mixed-method approach: the qualitative data collected was coded into categories to facilitate quantitative analysis, while the same corpus of text was subjected to co-word analysis conducted using T-lab software.

The results indicated that students’ experiences of injustice mainly concerned their relationships with teachers and peers. Another finding concerned the importance of well-defined assessment criteria, with many students claiming that teachers are rarely fair when evaluating students. Finally, participants also highlighted the salience of the teaching strategies chosen by teachers, which in some cases can themselves be a source of injustice.