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Representation in the classroom: The effect of own-race teachers on student achievement

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  • Egalite, Anna J.
  • Kisida, Brian
  • Winters, Marcus A.

Abstract

Previous research suggests that there are academic benefits when students and teachers share the same race/ethnicity because such teachers can serve as role models, mentors, advocates, or cultural translators. In this paper, we obtain estimates of achievement changes as students are assigned to teachers of different races/ethnicities from grades 3 through 10 utilizing a large administrative dataset provided by the Florida Department of Education that follows the universe of test-taking students in Florida public schools from 2001–2002 through 2008–2009. We find small but significant positive effects when black and white students are assigned to race-congruent teachers in reading (.004–.005 standard deviations) and for black, white and Asian/Pacific Island students in math (.007–.041 standard deviations). We also examine the effects of race matching by students' prior performance level, finding that lower-performing black and white students appear to particularly benefit from being assigned to a race-congruent teacher.

Suggested Citation

  • Egalite, Anna J. & Kisida, Brian & Winters, Marcus A., 2015. "Representation in the classroom: The effect of own-race teachers on student achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 44-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:45:y:2015:i:c:p:44-52
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.01.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Enget, Kathryn & Garcia, Joanna L. & Webinger, Mariah, 2020. "Majoring in accounting: Effects of gender, difficulty, career opportunities, and the impostor phenomenon on student choice," Journal of Accounting Education, Elsevier, vol. 53(C).
    3. Sukanta Bhattacharya & Aparajita Dasgupta & Kumarjit Mandal & Anirban Mukherjee, 2019. "Identity and Learning: a study on the effect of student-teacher gender interaction on student's learning," Working Papers 14, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    4. Ellis, Jimmy R. & Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "LATE for the Meeting: Gender, Peer Advising, and College Success," IZA Discussion Papers 9956, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Seah, Kelvin, 2018. "Do You Speak My Language? The Effect of Sharing a Teacher's Native Language on Student Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 11685, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Holt, Stephen B. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2016. "Who believes in me? The effect of student–teacher demographic match on teacher expectationsAuthor-Name: Gershenson, Seth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 209-224.
    7. Seth Gershenson & Stephen B. Holt & Nicholas Papageorge, 2015. "Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-231, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    8. My Nguyen, 2018. "The Relationship between Race-Congruent Students and Teachers: Does Racial Discrimination Exist?," Departmental Working Papers 2018-06, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    9. Gershenson, Seth & Hart, Cassandra M. D. & Lindsay, Constance A. & Papageorge, Nicholas W., 2017. "The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers," IZA Discussion Papers 10630, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Adriana Lleras-Muney & Matthew Miller & Shuyang Sheng & Veronica T. Sovero, 2020. "Party On: The Labor Market Returns to Social Networks and Socializing," NBER Working Papers 27337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Höckel, Lisa, 2019. "Speaking the same language - The effect of foreign origin teachers on students’ language skills," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203638, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Naven, Matthew, 2020. "Within-School Heterogeneity in Quality: Do Schools Provide Equal Value Added to All Students?," MPRA Paper 100123, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Hill, Andrew J. & Jones, Daniel B., 2018. "A teacher who knows me: The academic benefits of repeat student-teacher matches," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-12.
    14. Holt, Stephen B. & Gershenson, Seth, 2015. "The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions," IZA Discussion Papers 9554, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Bhattacharya, Sukanta & Dasgupta, Aparajita & Mandal, Kumarjit & Mukherjee, Anirban, 2020. "Identity and Learning: a study on the effect of student-teacher gender matching on learning outcomes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 737, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    16. Jeffrey Penney, 2017. "Racial Interaction Effects and Student Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(4), pages 447-467, Fall.
    17. Apriesnig, Jenny L. & Manning, Dale T. & Suter, Jordan F. & Magzamen, Sheryl & Cross, Jennifer E., 2020. "Academic stars and Energy Stars, an assessment of student academic achievement and school building energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    18. Cohen, Aviv, 2019. "From ideological tensions to pedagogical solutions: Narratives of Israeli arab-palestinian civics teachers," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 96-104.
    19. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2017. "Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Labor Market for Child Care Teachers," IZA Discussion Papers 11140, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Sukanta Bhattacharya & Aparajita Dasgupta & Kumarjit Mandal & Anirban Mukherjee, 2019. "Identity and Learning: a study on the effect of student-teacher gender interaction on student's learning," Working Papers 1021, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Race and ethnicity matching; Student/teacher assignment; Minority teachers; Minority students; Achievement gap; Educational economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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