Study Suggests Teachers Give Black and Latino Students Less Feedback

The results could hint at a cause behind the wide achievement gap.

Posted: 05/08/2012 11:53 AM EDT
Filed Under children, Education

Black Male Student; African-American Male Student

A new study finds that African-American and Hispanic students might be receiving less feedback from their teachers compared to caucasian children, which could be a factor in the wide achievement gap between races, a study researcher said.

The study, which was published April 30 in the Journal of Educational Psychology, tested 113 white middle school and high school teachers in two public school districts (one middle class and white and another working class and racially mixed) in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area. Teachers were given poorly written essays under the pretense that a student wrote them and would directly receive the teacher's comments. Some essays led the teachers to believe it was written by a Latino, Black, or white student.

The results indicated that teachers would give more feedback on essays they believed were written by a white student while skimping on helpful criticism if they thought a minority student submitted the work.

“The social implications of these results are important; many minority students might not be getting input from instructors that stimulates intellectual growth and fosters achievement,” said Kent Harber, a study researcher and Rutgers-Newark psychology professor.


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