Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) in Assessing Classroom Learning Environment: A Literature Review

BUANA PENDIDIKAN || Teori dan Penelitian Pendidikan
Tahun XI || Nomor 21 || Oktober 2015 || ISSN: 1693-8585
Penerbit : FKIP Universitas PGRI Adi Buana Surabaya

Penulis  : Erna Puji Astutik



Artikel ini memberikan gambaran tentang sejarah dan perkembangan di bidang lingkungan pembelajaran. Pengalaman pembelajaran di kelas akan sangat mempengaruhiperkembangan akademik siswa. Banyak instrumen juga telah dikembangkan untuk menyediakan peneliti dengan informasi yang mereka butuhkan dalam penelitian mereka. Salah satu instrumen adalah Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) yang dapat digunakan untuk mengukur perilaku guru dalam pembelajaran. Beberapa penelitian yang telah dilakukan menggunakan QTI untuk meneliti hubungan antara perilaku guru dalam pembelajaran dan hasil siswa (sikap dan kognitif), kepribadian guru, lingkungan kelas dan lingkungan sekolah. Dari penelitian sebelumnya, juga dapat diasumsikan bahwa baik lingkungan kelas dan perilaku guru adalah faktor penting yang mempengaruhi hasil belajar siswa.

Kata-kata kunci: Lingkungan pembelajaran, Kuesioner QTI.


It is generally believed that classroom learning experiences very much influence students’ academic development. “Students spend a vast amount of time, in the order of 15,000 hours, in school classroom during primary and secondary schooling” (Fraser, 1989). As a result, the quality of classroom environment is very important in teaching and learning process. Many researchers have studied about the relationship between students’ achievement and the quality of the classroom learning environment. These studies have been conducted in many different countries and the result indicates that the classroom climate is strongly influence student outcomes (Fraser, 2007). This chapter reviews literature relevant to the field on learning environments with specific attention on the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI). The following sections will describe: the history of the field of learning environment, range of questionnaires, types of research, description of selected questionnaire (the QTI) and conclusion.

History of the Field of Learning Environment

The classroom is a main point for student interpersonal and educational development. The initial formal study to the field of learning environment was developed by Lewin, a German-American psychologist, in 1936. Lewin recognized that both the environment and its interaction with personal characteristics of the individual are strong determining factor of human behavior (Fraser, 1986). Both person and environment are interdependent and in mathematical terms, Lewin converted this statement into the formula B = f (P, E) which behavior (B) is the function of person (P) and environment (E) (Marrow, 1969). Henry Murray, as cited in Fraser (Fraser, 1986), was the first worker to follow Lewin’s approach by proposing a needs-press model in 1938. He emphasized on the need to view behavior as a product of the relationship between the person and his environment (Stern, 1970). Murray defined needs (as cited inStern, 1970, p. 6) as “a force (the physic-chemical nature of which is unknown) in the brain region, a force which organizes perception, apperception, intellection, conation, and action in such a way as to transform in a certain direction an existing, unsatisfying situation” while press refers to “the phenomenological world of the individual, the unique and inevitably private view each person has of the events in which he takes part” (Stern, 1970, p. 7).

A needs-press model that was developed by Murray was popularized and clearly explained by Pace and Stern (Fraser, 1986). Stern (1970) formulated a theory of person-environment congruence in which student outcomes are enhanced by combinations of personal needs and environmental press. Getzels and Thelen (in 1960) also followed Murray’s Needs-press model, put forward a model for the class as a social system and suggested that personality needs, role expectations and classroom climate interact can be used to predict group behavior including learning outcomes (Aldridge, 1995; Fraser, 1986).

In the end of 1960’s, Herbert Walberg and Rudolf Moos began their research that has shaped the development of research into learning environments. Walberg developed the Learning environment Inventory (LEI) as part of research and evaluation activities of Harvard Project Physics (Anderson & Walberg, 1967; Walberg, 1967; Walberg & Anderson, 1968). Moos developed social climate scales for use in a variety of human environments and resulted in the development of the Classroom Environment Scale (CES). Moos also found three basic types of dimensions for assessing human environments (Fraser, 1986; Moos, 1979): Relationship Dimensions which assesses the extent to which people are involved in the environment and interpersonal support and help each other; Personal Development Dimensions that assesses personal growth and self-enhancement; and System Maintenance and System Change Dimensions that measure the rule structure and its response to change. Moos’ scheme has been used to classify the individual scales used in most of the learning environment instruments that have been developed (Fraser, 1986).

Range of Questionnaires

Many researches have been focused on the development of instruments to measure students’ perceptions of different dimensions of the learning environment. Instruments have been used to provide teachers and researchers with information on the nature of classroom environment and the students’ performance. The following eight classroom environment instruments are described briefly below:

  1. Learning Environment Inventory (LEI)

In 1968, as a part of the Harvard Project Physics, Anderson and Walberg developed the Learning Environment Inventory (LEI) (Aldridge, 1995). The LEI is an expansion and improvement of the Classroom Climate Questionnaire that has been devised by Walberg in 1968 based on the format described by Hemphill and Westie (1950; as cited in Fraser, 1986). The final version of LEI contains a total of 105 statements, consist of 15 scales (each scale has seven items), namely, Cohesiveness, Diversity, Formality, Speed, Material Environment, Friction, Goal direction, Favouritism, Difficulty, Apathy, Democracy, Cliqueness, Satisfaction, Disorganisation, and Competitiveness.  It is responded on four point scales with response alternatives of Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree and Strongly Agree (Aldridge, 1995; Fraser, 1986).

  1. Classroom Environment Scales (CES)

The Classroom Environment Scales (CES) was developed by Rudolf Moos in 1974 at Stanford University to assess a variety of human environment (Fraser, 1986). The original version consisted of 242 items representing 13 conceptual dimensions while the final version contains nine scales with ten items of True-False response format in each scale (Fraser, 1986). The scales are called Involvement, Affiliation, Teacher Support, Task Orientation, Competition, Order and Organisation, Rule Clarity, Teacher Control and Innovation (Aldridge, 1995; Fraser, 1986).

  1. Individualized Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ)

The Individualized Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ) was developed to differentiate between conventional and individual classrooms by Rentoul and Fraser in 1979. The final version of ICEQ’s long form contains 50 items with 10 items in each scale of Personalisation, Participation, Independence, Investigation, and Differentiation are responded by alternatives of Almost Never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often and Very Often (Aldridge, 1995; Fraser, 1986).

  1. My Class Inventory (MCI)

The My Class Inventory (MCI) is a simplification of the LEI which is suitable for students at primary school level (Fraser, 1986). According to Fraser (1986), the MCI differs from the LEI in four aspects. First, the MCI contains only five of the LEI’s scales, they are: Cohesiveness, Friction, Satisfaction, Difficulty, and Competitiveness. Second, item wording has been simplified to enhance readability. Third, the LEI’s response has been reduced from four-point to a two-point (Yes-No) response format. Finally, students answer not on a separate response sheet but on the questionnaire itself to avoid errors in transferring responses.

  1. Science laboratory environment inventory (SLEI)

Because of the importance of laboratory settings in science education, an instrument, called the Science laboratory environment inventory (SLEI) was developed by Fraser, Giddings and McRobbie (1992) which is well-suited to assess the environment of science laboratory classes at the senior high school and higher education levels. There are five scales, namely student Cohesiveness, Open-Endedness, Integration, Rule Clarity and Material Environment. Each scale has seven items and is responded by alternatives of Almost Never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often and Very Often.

  1. Questionnaire on teacher interaction (QTI)

The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) that originated in the Netherland focused on the relationship dimension between teachers and students (Wubbels & Levy, 1993). The QTI was developed to assess students’ perceptions of eight behaviour aspects such as, Leadership, Helpful and Friendly, Understanding, Student Responsibility and Freedom, Uncertain, Dissatisfied, Admonishing, and Strict. Each aspect has a five-point response scale ranging from never to always. The details development of QTI will be explained in section 5.

  1. Constructivist Learning Environment survey (CLES)

The Constructivist Learning Environment survey (CLES) was designed by Taylor, Dawson and Fraser (1995) to enable teacher-researchers to monitor their development of innovative constructivist approaches to teaching school science. The CLES has 35 items arranged in five 7-item scales, namely, Personal Relevance, Critical Voice, Shared Control, Uncertainty and Student Negotiation with a five-point response scale of Almost Always, Often, Sometimes, Seldom and Almost Never.

  1. What is happening in the class (WIHIC)

The What is happening in the class (WIHIC) was developed by Fraser, Fisher and McRobbie (1996) which incorporates scales from a wide range of existing questionnaires with additional scales that accommodate contemporary educational concerns (e.g. equity and constructivism) (Fraser, 2002). The first version of the WIHIC contained nine scales (each scale containing ten items), namely, Student Cohesiveness, Teacher Support, Involvement, Autonomy/Independence, Investigation, Task Orientation, Cooperation, Equity and Understanding with a five-point response scale of Almost never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often and Almost Always while the final version consists of seven scales only (without Autonomy/Independence and Understanding scales). Although the WIHIC is a relatively new instrument, it has been adopted by several countries and translated into several languages (Fraser, 2007).

Types of Research

The instruments developed to measure students’ perceptions of the classroom environment have been used in a variety of research. This section reviews types of research that have been conducted involving classroom environment instruments:

  1. Association between student outcomes and environment

Over past decade, classroom environment research has involved investigation into associations between students’ cognitive and affective outcomes and their perceptions of the classroom environment (Fraser, 1986, 2002, 2007). Such research and reviews have convinced and supported the predictive validity of students’ perceptions in accounting for appreciable amounts of variance in learning outcomes (Fraser, 1986). The implication of this research is that students’ outcomes can be enhanced by improving the classroom environment. For example, a meta-analysis involving 17,805 students from four nations shown that better students outcomes were associated with greater organization, cohesiveness, goal direction and less friction (Haertel, Walberg & Haertel, as cited in Fraser, 2007).

  1. Evaluation of educational innovations

One of the uses of classroom environment is as a valuable source of process criteria in the evaluation of educational curricula and innovations (Fraser, 1986, 2002, 2007). The use of these process criteria is important to define the aims to be achieved by students and the nature of the learning environment considered desirable as well. For example, an evaluation of the Australian Science Education Project (ASEP) revealed that students perceived their classroom become more satisfying and individualised and having better material environment (Fraser, as cited in Fraser, 2002).

  1. Differences between student and teacher perceptions of actual and preferred classroom

The advantage of having distinct forms of student actual, student preferred, teacher actual and teacher preferred of some classroom environment instruments is that it provides investigation of differences between student and teacher perceptions of actual and preferred environment in the same classroom. Fisher and Fraser (1983) study involved the use of ICEQ and CES to explore the differences between forms of environment assessment instruments (student actual, student preferred, teacher actual and teacher preferred). Students tended to prefer a more positive environment than was actually classroom in terms of many of the scales assessed by the instruments while teachers  perceived their classes more favorably on numerous environment scales than their students in the same classrooms.

  1. Determinants of classroom environment

Many studies have been conducted including some independent variables such as teacher personality, class sizes, grade level, subject matter, the nature of the school level environment and the type of school. In 1998 Hirata and Sako (as cited in Fraser, 2007) found the different perceptions between at-risk students (delinquent and non-attendees) and normal students of the classroom environment in Japan.

  1. Use of qualitative research methods

There was significant progress in learning environment research that involved qualitative methods and combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in the same study of classroom environments (Fraser & Tobin, as cited in Fraser 2002). For example, Fraser’s multilevel study (as cited in Fraser, 2007) involving a teacher-researcher and six university-based researchers perspective commenced with an interpretive study of a Grade 10 teacher’s classroom at a school which provided a challenging learning environment because many of students from working class backgrounds were experiencing problems at home and had English as a second language. Qualitative methods was conducted by visiting the class, using student diaries and interviewing the teacher-researcher, students, school administrators and parents. They also recorded the activities using a video camera and complemented with classroom environment questionnaire. The use of qualitative information was to help the researcher in providing consistent and plausible accounts of the teacher profile’s scores on a classroom environment instrument that was responded by the students.

  1. Cross-National Studies

Cross-national studies have a big chance for generating new insights of educational research for at least two reasons (Fraser, as cited in Fraser, 2002). First, the variation in variables of interest (e.g. teaching methods, student attitudes) in a sample drawn of multiple countries is greater than from one country sample. Second, when research involves two countries, the familiar educational practices, beliefs and attitudes may become strange and questioned. In cross national study, Dutch and American researchers have worked together in comparing interpersonal teacher behavior using the QTI (Wubbels & Levy, 1989). The result indicates that American teachers wanted to be stricter while Dutch teachers wanted to give students more responsibility and freedom.

Description of Selected Questionnaire – The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction

The following sections will give description the origin and development of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction:

  1. Conceptualisation and Development of the QTI

The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) was developed in early 1980s by team of Dutch researchers at the University of Utrecht in Netherland to measure teacher behaviour and interaction with students (Wubbels, Creton, & Hooymayers, 1985). The QTI was adapted from Leary model of interpersonal behaviour. The Leary model allows the graphic representation of human interaction with the help of a proximity dimension (Cooperation-Oppositions) to measure the degree of cooperation or closeness by those involved in the communication process and an influence dimension (Dominance-Submission) indicates the degree of dominance or control during the communication process (Wubbels & Levy, 1993). These dimensions are then represented in coordinate system as shown in figure 5.1.


Figure 5.1: The Coordinate System of the Leary Model

The Leary model are then translated into the classroom and divided into eight equal sectors that provides the example of different types of teacher’s behaviour when interacts with students as can be seen in figure 5.2.

The QTI consists of eight scales which correspond with the eight sectors of the Leary model, they are: Leadership, Helpful/Friendly, Understanding, Student Responsibility/Freedom, Uncertain, Dissatisfied, Admonishing and Strict behaviour. The original Dutch version of the QTI consists of about ten items in each scale with a total of 77 items and to be answered on a five-point Likert scale from Never to Always (Wubbels, Creton, Levy, & Hooymayers, 1993). An American version which developed in the late 1980s  has eight items in each scale with a total of 64 items and similar response scale (Wubbels & Levy, 1991). Both versions of the QTI were developed in secondary schools for educational research purposes (Aldridge, 1995). Several studies have confirmed the reliability and validity of the QTI involving Dutch (Wubbels, Creton, & Hooymayers, 1985), American (Wubbels & Levy, 1991) and Australian (Fisher, Fraser & Wubbels, as cited in Wubbels et al., 1993) samples. The long form of the Australian version of the QTI has 64 items and similar response scale. Each scale has eight items that corresponding to one of the eight scales (Wubbels, 1993). The short version of the QTI was developed by Wubbels (1993) in order to make more accessible to teachers. This version consists of a total of 48 items with similar eight scales in which six items for each scale. The QTI was also adapted by Goh and Fraser (1995) from two existing secondary school version of the QTI: The long 64 items form of the Australian version and the short 48 items form for use in primary schools in Singapore.

Figure 5.2: The Model for Interpersonal Teacher Behaviour

  1. Description of the QTI

The short version of QTI that was developed by Wubbels (1993) has 48 items in total. It assess the eight scales as described below (as cited in Aldridge, 1995, p. 52):

  1. Leadership, the degree to which the teacher provides leadership to the class and holds the students attention.
  2. Helping/Friendly, the degree to which the teacher is friendly and helpful towards the students.
  3. Understanding, the degree to which the teacher shows understanding/ care/ concern towards the students
  4. Student Responsibility/Freedom, the degree to which students are given opportunities to assume responsibility.
  5. Uncertain, the degree to which the teacher exhibits uncertainty.
  6. Dissatisfied, the degree to which the teacher displays dissatisfaction towards the students.
  7. Admonishing, the degree to which he teacher gets angry, admonishes, or loses his/her temper with the students.
  8. Strict, the degree to which the teacher strict and maintains control over the students.

Each scale has six items which are responded on a five-point Likert scale (Never-Always which is scored from 0 to 4). The items are arranged in cyclic order and in blocks of four in order to facilitate hand scoring. The first 24 items assess the four scales namely Leadership, Understanding, Uncertain and Admonishing behaviour while the items 25 to 48 assess the scales Helpful/Friendly, Student Responsibility/Freedom, Dissatisfied and Strict behaviour. The total score of a certain scale is the sum of the circled numbers for the six items belonging to the scale. Omitted or invalid responses are scored 3.

  1. Review of Studies Involving the QTI

Several studies have been conducted by some researchers involving the QTI to measure interpersonal teachers’ behavior and student learning. In 1995, Goh and Fraser conducted a research in Singapore with a sample of 1512 Primary school students (815 boys and 697 girls) and 39 mathematics teachers in 13 schools. The aim of this study was to examine associations between classroom environment (interpersonal teacher behavior and classroom climate) and student outcomes (attitude and achievement) in mathematics classroom. The study confirmed the validity and reliability of the QTI and MCI when used in Primary mathematics classes and used them to measure the classroom environment. They found that there is association between learning environment and students outcomes in which the students performed better in classes with a greater emphasis on teacher Understanding, Helping/Friendly and Leadership behavior, and also in classes that more cohesion and less friction.

Another research has been conducted by Fisher, Kent and Fraser (1998) that also involved interpersonal teacher behavior. They investigated the relationship between student and teacher perceptions of interpersonal teacher behavior (using QTI) and teacher personality (using a Myer Briggs Type Indicator – MBTI). A sample of 108 teachers from eight secondary schools (Grades 11 and 12) in Tasmania, Australia completed the QTI and MBTI and the students in one of the classes of each teacher completed the QTI. The study confirmed a moderate association between teacher personality and interpersonal teacher behavior. It was found that teacher personality appears to be associated with teacher self-image in concern to being friendly/helpful and giving freedom, responsibility and opportunities for independent work in class. It is also related with the students’ perceptions of their teachers’ interpersonal behavior in regard to the freedom and responsibility that was allowed by their teachers.

Fisher and Rickards (1998) was also used the QTI to examine the relation between students’ perceptions of their interpersonal relationship with their teacher and their attitudinal outcomes in mathematics classroom. Because it was the first major use of the QTI in Australian mathematics classroom, reliability and validity data were collected and analyzed from 405 students in 9 schools (in Grade 8, 9 and 10) together with their 21 teachers. They found that the QTI scales were strongly associated with student attitudes scores in which student attitude tended to be higher in classroom where they perceived greater Leadership and Helping/Friendly behaviors in their teachers and lower in classroom where they perceived Dissatisfied, Admonishing and Strict behaviors. The use of the QTI also provided data in which the teacher can reflect to improve their classroom environment.


Over the past four decades, the formal study of learning environment has been developed. Started by Lewin, Murray, Walberg and Moos, research in this field has become popular and developed in many countries. It is hoped that this literature review can gives an overview of the history and development in the field of learning environment. Many instruments have also been developed in order to provide researchers with information that they needs in their research. One of the instruments that we have been discussed above is The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) that can be used to measure interpersonal teacher behaviour.  Some researches that have been conducted used the QTI to examine the association between interpersonal teacher behaviour and students outcomes (attitude and cognitive), teacher personality, classroom environment and school environments. From the previous research, it can also be assumed that both the classroom environment and interpersonal teacher behaviour are important factors towards student outcomes. Therefore, it is interesting to use the QTI in Indonesia because it still uncommon to investigate the teachers and most of research tend to investigate student attitude or achievement only. Furthermore, it is hoped that many studies will be conducted in Indonesia involving classroom environment and interpersonal teacher behaviour to improve students outcomes because in Indonesian curriculum there is a standardize test and minimal score that must be achieved by the students.


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