Publication Date



This study compares alternative ways of disentangling the effects of level (the tendency for a person to be high, medium, or low across all factors) and shape (the tendency for a person to have a distinct pattern of factors on which they are high, medium, or low) in profile analyses. This issue is particularly relevant to performance appraisals where it is often useful to identify specific strengths and weaknesses over and above a person global performance, but also to person-centered analyses more generally where the observation of qualitative (shape) differences between profiles is often used as justification for the added value of profiles. Substantively, this study illustrates these issues in the identification of profiles of teachers based on multidimensional students’ ratings of their effectiveness, using an archival data set of 31,951 class-average ratings based on the Students’ Evaluations of Educational Quality (SEEQ) instrument collected over a 13-year period. The results show the superiority of a factor mixture operationalization of teaching effectiveness in which a global effectiveness factor was used to control for unnecessary level effects in the profiles.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons