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J Sch Psychol. 2008 Jun;46(3):235-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2007.05.001. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Teacher expectations, classroom context, and the achievement gap.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 60607-7137, USA.


In two independent datasets with 1872 elementary-aged children in 83 classrooms, Studies 1 and 2 examined the role of classroom context in moderating the relationship between child ethnicity and teacher expectations. For Study 1 overall and Study 2 mixed-grade classrooms, in ethnically diverse classrooms where students reported high levels of differential teacher treatment (PDT) towards high and low achieving students, teacher expectations of European American and Asian American students were between .75 and 1.00 standard deviations higher than teacher expectations of African American and Latino students with similar records of achievement. In highly diverse low-PDT classrooms in Study 1 and highly diverse low-PDT mixed-grade classrooms in Study 2, teachers held similar expectations for all students with similar records of achievement. Study 3 estimated the contribution of teacher expectations to the year-end ethnic achievement gap in high- and low-bias classrooms. In high-bias classrooms, teacher expectancy effects accounted for an average of .29 and up to .38 standard deviations of the year-end ethnic achievement gap.

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