Teachers’ Racial Bias: Can Teachers Rate an African American Boy Similarly to His Racial Counterparts on Problem Behaviors for a Broad Rating Scale?

Isaac L. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

After decades of advancement in education equality, a disproportional number of racially minoritized students are placed in special education. Addressing the disproportionality is a complicated issue due to various contributing factors. One possible cause is racial bias from teachers who rate problem behaviors of African American boys for special education evaluations. This study investigated the effect of a student’s race on teachers’ ratings of problem behavior for special education evaluations. In an online study, the race of an African American student, Asian American student, and European American student were manipulated in a vignette of a hypothetical child. Participants read one of three vignettes and completed the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment Teacher Report Form and a 7-item questionnaire. Although results evinced teachers perceived the home life of the African American student as poorer quality, no racial bias in ratings of internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, referrals for special education, likelihood of postsecondary education, and academic functioning were found. The strengths, limitations, and implications for experimental studies and clinical practice for examining racial bias are discussed. Impact Statement This experimental study seeks to determine when manipulating the race/ethnicity of a child, can teachers rate a vignette of a student similarly on a broad rating scale. No prior study has centered African American boys, used a norm-referenced broad rating scale for both externalizing disorders and internalizing disorders in a vignette, and included national sample in an online study on racial bias in the United States of America.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchool Psychology Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 National Association of School Psychologists.

Keywords

  • assessment
  • Disproportionality in special education
  • diversity
  • Scott Graves
  • social–emotional
  • teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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