A recent educational study found that Black and Latino students often receive less critical, overly positive feedback from teachers.
For the study, 113 white middle and high school teachers were given a “poorly written essay” to grade. When the teacher was led to believe that a Black or Latino student wrote it, they tended to give the students more praise and less criticism.
According to researcher Kent Harber, this positive feedback bias in teachers may be contributing to the achievement gap between white and minority students. By not giving minority students the contstructive criticism they need and deserve, these teachers are stifling their intellectual growth.
“The researchers also considered the support the teacher received from colleagues and administration. This turned out to be an important factor if the teachers believed the student was black, with only teachers who lacked support showing the bias. However, when teachers thought the student was Latino, they showed the bias toward positive feedback regardless.
‘These results indicate that the positive feedback bias may contribute to the insufficient challenge that undermines minority students’ academic achievement,’ the researchers conclude.”
Are you surprised by the results of this study?
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