Teachers’ Bias Against the Mathematical Ability of Female, Black, and Hispanic Students

Yasemin Copur-Gencturk, Joseph R. Cimpian, Sarah Theule Lubienski, Ian Thacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Researchers have long endeavored to understand whether teachers’ evaluations of their students’ mathematical ability or performance are accurate or whether their evaluations reveal implicit biases. To disentangle these factors, in a randomized controlled study (N = 390), we examined teachers’ evaluations of 18 mathematical solutions to which gender- and race-specific names had been randomly assigned. Teachers displayed no detectable bias when assessing the correctness of students’ solutions; however, when assessing students’ mathematical ability, biases against Black, Hispanic, and female students were revealed, with biases largest against Black and Hispanic girls. Specifically, non-White teachers’ estimations of students’ mathematical ability favored White students (both boys and girls) over students of color, whereas (primarily female) White teachers’ estimations of students’ mathematical ability favored boys over girls. Results indicate that teachers are not free of bias, and that teachers from marginalized groups may be susceptible to bias that favors stereotype-advantaged groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-43
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • equity
  • experimental design
  • experimental research
  • gender studies
  • mathematics education
  • minorities
  • teacher research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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