Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Carol Freedman-Doan, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Heather Janisse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Renee Lajiness-O’Neill, Ph.D.


This study sought to expand current knowledge about aspects of the teacher-child relationship that may facilitate accuracy in teacher reporting on children’s higher-order cognitive skills, including attention, working memory, and executive functioning (EF). The study proposed a model of children’s cognitive functioning, wherein performance-based neuropsychological measures of children’s attention, working memory, and EF and teacher-student relational warmth predicted teacher reports of children’s abilities. The final sample for this study included 37 teachers and their 8- to 12-year old students. Results found that teachers’ behavioral reports captured children’s true neurocognitive abilities, as measured by performance-based neuropsychological measures. Teacher warmth was related to teachers’ reports of children’s abilities such that greater warmth was associated with fewer reported cognitive problems, and less warmth was associated with a greater number of reported cognitive problems. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that above and beyond that which was accounted for by performance-based neuropsychological measures, teacher warmth accounted for significant variance in teachers’ reports of children’s abilities. Lastly, moderation analyses showed that teacher warmth significantly interacted with true attention abilities to predict teachers’ reports of inattention; moderate warmth was predictive of the most accurate teacher reports, whereas low warmth predicted over-report of attention problems, and high warmth predicted under-report of attention problems. The results of this study help to identify promising targets of teacher-based interventions for children whose cognitive deficits may be negatively impacting their performance in school and who may not be correctly identified for academic supports and/or early intervention services.