The role of structure and interaction in teachers’ decision making during allocation meetings

Janneke Sleenhof*, Marieke Thurlings, Maaike Koopman, Douwe Beijaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study focuses on teachers' group decision making during Dutch allocation meetings. A previous interview study showed that teachers question the objectivity of decisions due to negative interaction experiences and a lack of structure during these meetings. To characterize the structure and interaction of these meetings, 33 student allocations were observed. Results showed a variety of structures and interactions, including differences in the degree to which the meetings met criteria relevant to achieving objective allocation decisions. It can be concluded that - based on the criteria of acceptance, fairness, and transparency as used in this study - allocation meetings need to be well-prepared and substantiated, to allow for every teacher's opinion to be heard, and follow a procedure that is clear to everyone. In view of students' future school careers, it is important to pay close attention to functional interaction and structured discussions that ensure transparent, acceptable and fair decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-354
Number of pages23
JournalTeaching Education
Issue number3
Early online date19 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022


  • BIAS
  • allocation decisions
  • group decision making
  • meeting structures
  • objective decisions
  • teacher interaction


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