A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and American University in Washington, D.C., finds that Black and White teachers tend to have different expectations for the same student. The study found that White teachers expect significantly less of Black students than African American teachers. This effect is particularly apparent for Black male students.
A survey asked two different teachers, who each taught a particular student in either math or reading, to predict how far that one student would go in school. With White students, the ratings from both teachers tended to be the same. But with Black students, boys in particular, there were big differences — the White teachers had much lower expectations than Black teachers for how far the Black students would go in school.
Specifically, the study found that when a Black teacher and a White teacher evaluate the same Black student, the White teacher is about 30 percent less likely than the Black teacher to predict the student will complete a four-year college degree. White teachers are also almost 40 percent less likely than Black teachers to expect their Black students will graduate high school.
Nicholas Papageorge, an economist in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of the study, stated that “what we find is that White teachers and Black teachers systematically disagree about the exact same student. One of them has to be wrong.”
The article, “Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student–Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations,” was published on the website of thee journal Economics of Education Review. It may be accessed here.