In a study of first graders, teachers rated low-performing minority students more positively than low-performing white students, but they ranked high-performing minority students lower than white students at the same level
The ways teachers view their students can influence how teachers teach. Which affects how and what students learn. Now a study finds that a teacher’s racial biases come into play in different ways for high-achieving kids versus low-performing ones.
“There are actually students who are experiencing different perceptions—and those different perceptions play into very specific stereotypes and ideas about capabilities.”
Sociologist Yasmiyn Irizarry of the University of Texas at Austin. She published her findings in the journal Social Science Research. [Yasmiyn Irizarry, Selling students short: Racial differences in teachers’ evaluations of high, average, and low performing students]
Irizarry used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study collected by the National Center for Education Statistics. She compared the test scores of more than 10,000 first graders to how teachers ranked their students in comparison to all other first graders.
Teachers made accurate ratings of average students, regardless of race. But when considering students of color, teachers rated low-performing Black, Asian and Latino students more positively than they did their low-performing white students. And teachers ranked high-performing minority students lower than white students at the same level. Interestingly, the race of the teacher was not a factor in the skewed evaluations based on the race of the students.
On both ends of the spectrum, the teachers’ predispositions could have detrimental effects on students. Either by insufficiently challenging gifted kids or not fully recognizing the needs of struggling young students.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]