Teaching must be tailored to different students with different characteristics . This need to adapt instruction has been studied for more than a century [33,35]. Yet, with the rise of diversity as an issue in the educational debate, recent policies, e.g. , increasingly call for using assessments to “individualize instruction for students with diverse learning needs” . Indeed, teachers plan and implement instructional activities according to their appraisal of their students’ dispositions . They choose tasks and assemble learning groups according to their judgment of students’ characteristics . The central role of teachers’ ability to diagnose each individual student’s unique set of learning prerequisites is therefore indisputable. Yet, research examining if teachers are indeed able to do so is still not satisfactory. According to current research, two lines of research exist: First, research regarding teacher judgment accuracy and its conditions and second, research regarding the process of those judgments . However, both lines cannot yet tell if teachers see the within-student diversity of characteristics.
Large meta-analyses report that teachers are generally able to accurately assess their students’ achievement (overall agreement of teacher perceptions and student assessment r = .65 [39,11]). However, studies point out that even in these meta-analyses, large parts of variance remain unexplained . Also, research suggests teachers to have more difficulty accurately judging their students regarding other student characteristics such as intelligence or motivation . Hence, research on teacher judgment accuracy yields mixed findings for different characteristics.
Additionally, the measurement of judgment accuracy itself remains an issue. Findings juxtaposing the different methods uncover discrepancies due to measurement and conclude that it is difficult to speak of general judgment accuracy . In these mixed findings on teacher judgment accuracy for different characteristics, we cannot make clear predictions on the judgment of characteristics interaction based on this line of research alone.