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Study Finds Race Affects Teachers' 'Judgment of Misbehavior'

Study Finds Race Affects Teacher's 'Judgment of Misbehavior'

A recently published Stanford University study suggests that race has an effect on how teachers discipline misbehavior, according to an article from Education Week.

Using a sample of 244 K-12 teachers and two different studies, Jennifer Eberhardt and Jason Okonofua, a Stanford psychology professor and graduate student, provided teachers with fictional student disciplinary records.

"The records were labeled with either a stereotypically black name (Deshawn or Darnell) or a stereotypically white one (Greg or Jake). In either case, the student had committed two minor offenses, insubordination and classroom disturbance. After reading about each infraction, the teachers were asked about their attitudes toward the student," the article said.

The results concluded that teachers were more likely to deem a black student troubled and to "recommend more severe punishments for him after the second instance of misbehavior."

Teachers were also more likely to suggest suspending black students later on versus the white ones and despite both similarly demonstrating minor instances of misbehavior.

The authors of the study claim that this proves that teachers are likely to discipline based on pattern and not on individual cases.

They "call this phenomenon the 'black-escalation effect' and say that it shows definitively that teachers' attitudes play an important role in the school-discipline racial disparities. They attribute the results to the negative stereotypes often applied to black students," according to the article.

Because discipline and achievement have proven to be correlated, the authors urge a closer look "at how a teacher's views of students can have an effect even when it's just a matter of minor misbehavior."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/21/2015

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