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Same work, lower grade? Student ethnicity and teachers' subjective assessments

  • van Ewijk, Reyn

Abstract Previous research shows that ethnic minority students perform poorer in school when they are taught by teachers belonging to the ethnic majority. Why this is the case was unclear. This paper focuses on one important potential explanation: I examine whether ethnic majority teachers grade minority and majority students differently for the same work. Using an experiment, I show that such a direct grading bias does not occur. I do find indirect evidence for alternative explanations: teachers report lower expectations and unfavorable attitudes that both likely affect their behavior towards minority students, potentially inducing them to perform below their ability level. Effects of having ethnic majority teachers on minority students' grades hence seem more likely to be indirect than direct.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 1045-1058

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:1045-1058
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2000. "Do High Grading Standards Affect Student Performance?," NBER Working Papers 7985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2005. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," NBER Working Papers 11049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lydia Mechtenberg, 2009. "Cheap Talk in the Classroom: How Biased Grading at School Explains Gender Differences in Achievements, Career Choices and Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1431-1459.
  4. Lindahl, Erica, 2007. "Comparing teachers’ assessments and national test results – evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:24, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  7. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 158-165, May.
  8. Rema Hanna & Leigh Linden, 2010. "Measuring Discrimination in Education," Working Papers id:2541, eSocialSciences.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Evidence of ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labor market using experimental data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 716-729, August.
  13. Colding, Bjørg & Husted, Leif & Hummelgaard, Hans, 2009. "Educational progression of second-generation immigrants and immigrant children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 434-443, August.
  14. Price, Joshua, 2010. "The effect of instructor race and gender on student persistence in STEM fields," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 901-910, December.
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  17. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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