Bias in Primary School Teachers’ Expectations of Students? A Study of General and Specific Bias Towards SES, Ethnicity and Gender

Elien Sneyers, Jan Vanhoof, Paul Mahieu


Based on teachers' knowledge base of students, teacher expectations of students' (future) abilities and potential are shaped, in which bias may occur. This study investigates data on multiple attributes of 535 sixth-grade Flemish students to find out (1) whether teacher expectations of students' cognitive and non-cognitive attributes, of teacher-student relationships, and of parental involvement in education are biased, and (2) whether teachers differ in their expectation bias towards SES, ethnicity, and gender. By means of correlation analysis, in which we compared teacher expectations with multiple measured student attributes (i.e., their achievement test scores and self-assessments), the results showed statistically significant, positive correlations for all the attributes included, indicating an overall correspondence between teacher expectations and students' measured attributes. At the same time, using an indicator of teacher expectation bias by subtracting the students' measured attributes from the corresponding teacher expectations, this study highlighted an expectation bias in terms of over- and underestimation by teachers, especially with respect to teachers' expectations of students cognitive attributes and parental involvement in education. Also, a specific bias in teacher expectations towards SES and gender was found.

Klíčová slova

teacher expectations; teacher expectation bias; student attributes; academic achievement; self-assessment

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Časopis Ústavu pedagogických věd FF MU.

Výkonná redakce: Klára Šeďová, Roman Švaříček, Zuzana Šalamounová, Martin Sedláček, Karla Brücknerová, Petr Hlaďo.

Redakční rada: Milan Pol (předseda redakční rady), Gunnar Berg, Michael Bottery, Hana Cervinkova, Theo van Dellen, Eve Eisenschmidt, Peter Gavora, Yin Cheong Cheng, Miloš Kučera, Adam Lefstein, Sami Lehesvuori, Jan Mareš, Jiří Mareš, Jiří Němec, Angelika Paseka, Jana Poláchová Vašťatková, Milada Rabušicová, Alina Reznitskaya, Michael Schratz, Martin Strouhal, Petr Svojanovský, António Teodoro, Tony Townsend, Anita Trnavčevič, Jan Vanhoof, Arnošt Veselý, Kateřina Vlčková, Eliška Walterová.

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ISSN 1803-7437 (print), ISSN 2336-4521 (online)