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Test Scores, Subjective Assessment and Stereotyping of Ethnic Minorities


  • Simon Burgess
  • Ellen Greaves



We assess whether ethnic minority pupils are subject to low teacher expectations. We exploit the English testing system of “quasi-blind” externally marked tests and “non-blind” internal assessment to compare differences in these assessment methods between White and ethnic minority pupils. We find evidence that some ethnic groups are systematically “under-assessed” relative to their White peers, while some are “over-assessed”. We propose a stereotype model in which a teacher’s local experience of an ethnic group affects assessment of current pupils; this is supported by the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Ellen Greaves, 2009. "Test Scores, Subjective Assessment and Stereotyping of Ethnic Minorities," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/221, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:09/221

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    Cited by:

    1. Terrier, Camille, 2016. "Boys Lag Behind: How Teachers' Gender Biases Affect Student Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 10343, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Eva Feron & Trudie Schils & Bas ter Weel, 2016. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Value of the Teacher’s Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(4), pages 391-418, December.
    3. Papageorge, Nicholas W. & Gershenson, Seth & Kang, Kyungmin, 2016. "Teacher Expectations Matter," IZA Discussion Papers 10165, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Lavy, Victor & Sand, Edith, 2015. "On The Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers’ Stereotypical Biases," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1085, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    7. Jan Feld & Nicolás Salamanca & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2016. "Endophilia or Exophobia: Beyond Discrimination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(594), pages 1503-1527, August.
    8. repec:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:216-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Feron, Eva & Schils, Trudie & ter Weel, Bas, 2015. "Does the Teacher Beat the Test? The Additional Value of Teacher Assessment in Predicting Student Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 8768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Tammy Campbell, 2014. "Selected at seven: The relationships between teachers' judgments and assessments of pupils, and pupils' stream placements," DoQSS Working Papers 14-10, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    11. Battistin, Erich & Neri, Lorenzo, 2017. "School Performance, Score Inflation and Economic Geography," IZA Discussion Papers 11161, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Oliver Himmler & Robert Schwager, 2013. "Double Standards in Educational Standards – Do Schools with a Disadvantaged Student Body Grade More Leniently?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 166-189, May.
    13. Ruiz-Valenzuela, Jenifer, 2015. "Job loss at home: children’s school performanceduring the Great Recession in Spain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63804, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. van Ewijk, Reyn, 2011. "Same work, lower grade? Student ethnicity and teachers' subjective assessments," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1045-1058, October.
    15. Erich Battistin & Lorenzo Neri, 2017. "School Performance, Score Inflation and Economic Geography," Working Papers 837, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    16. Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Jessica Van Parys, 2013. "Noncognitive Skills and the Gender Disparities in Test Scores and Teacher Assessments: Evidence from Primary School," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 236-264.
    17. Rangvid, Beatrice Schindler, 2015. "Systematic differences across evaluation schemes and educational choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 41-55.
    18. Fernando Botelho & Ricardo Madeira, Marcos A. Rangel, 2015. "Racial Discrimination in Grading: Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2015_04, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    19. Thomas S. Dee & Will Dobbie & Brian A. Jacob & Jonah Rockoff, 2016. "The Causes and Consequences of Test Score Manipulation: Evidence from the New York Regents Examinations," NBER Working Papers 22165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. De Paola, Maria & Brunello, Giorgio, 2016. "Education as a Tool for the Economic Integration of Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 9836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Joshua D. Angrist & Erich Battistin & Daniela Vuri, 2017. "In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Italian Mezzogiorno," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 216-249, October.
    22. Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela, 2015. "Job Loss at Home: Children's School Performance During the Great Recession in Spain," CEP Discussion Papers dp1364, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    23. 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.
    24. Holt, Stephen B. & Gershenson, Seth, 2015. "The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions," IZA Discussion Papers 9554, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Subjective assessment; stereotypes; education; test score gaps; ethnic minorities;

    JEL classification:

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

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