A new study by researchers at New York University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds find that classes taught by the same teacher receive a lower quality of teaching when they comprise higher percentages of Black and Latinx students.
The study focused on English language arts and mathematics teachers in grades four through nine. The authors measured teaching quality using two in-classroom observational ratings and students’ increases in standardized scores. They found that roughly half of the differences in classroom teaching quality were driven by differences among teachers like their credentials, while the other half could be attributed to factors like biases within teachers.
“Previous research has revealed different forms of racial inequality within the U.S. schooling system, including that youth of color tend to be taught by less experienced and credentialed teachers, but virtually no work has examined inequalities in the primary responsibility of teachers: how teachers actually teach,” says Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, associate professor of international education at New York University and lead author of the study. “Our results uncovered a bias that aligns with work on racial biases, and particularly anti-Blackness, that is pervasive in U.S. education and society, and underscores the importance of better teacher training.”
“We also found that teachers across racial/ethnic groups show the same patterns in teaching that disadvantage Black youth, which suggests that all teachers, not just White teachers, can benefit from better training and development,” the authors write.
The full study, “Teaching Bias? Relations Between Teaching Quality and Classroom Demographic Composition,” was published on the website of the American Journal of Education. It may be accessed here.