Implicit Prejudiced Attitudes of Teachers: Relations to Teacher Expectations and the Ethnic Achievement Gap

Implicit Prejudiced Attitudes of Teachers: Relations to Teacher Expectations and the Ethnic Achievement Gap

Issue/Topic: Minority/Diversity Issues; Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap; Teaching Quality
Author(s): Denessen, Eddie; Holland, Rob; Hornstra, Lisette; van den Bergh, Linda; Voeten, Marinus
Organization(s): Eindhoven University of Technology; Radbound University Nijmegen; University of Amsterdam
Publication: American Educational Research Journal
Published On: 1/19/2010

It has been found that members of academically stigmatized groups are more susceptible to expectancy effects than nonminority students. Additionally, previous studies have focused on explicit measures of teacher prejudice, such as teacher questionnaires which are susceptible to bias. This study focuses on implicit measures of teacher prejudice assessed through association tests which may more accurately measure teacher prejudice.

To determine if prejudiced attitudes of teachers influence expectations, treatment and academic achievement of minority students.


Analysis of elementary teachers and students revealed that explicit measures of teacher prejudice (e.g., attitudes explicitly expressed via questionnaire) were not correlated with differential evaluations of minority students or the size of the achievement gap between minority and nonminority students in individual classrooms. However, the authors found that measured implicitly (e.g., via a test of how strongly an individual makes unconscious and or unrecognized associations among groups or categories of people), higher teacher prejudice was correlated with harsher evaluations of minority students and a wider achievement gap between minority and nonminority students as compared to those of teachers with lower implicit prejudice.


Student Achievement

Pathways from Prejudice to Student Achievement

The authors theorize that:

Policy Implications/Recommendations:

Research Design:
Statistical analysis of teacher and student data

41 teachers and 494 First-Sixth grade students at 17 elementary schools in the Southeast of the Netherlands

Year data is from:


Data Collection and Analysis:
Collection and analysis of (1) Modern Racism Scale questionnaire (2) Implicit Association Test (IAT) response latency (3) six item scale for teacher evaluations (4) national standard math and text comprehension exams

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