The Impact of Teacher Perceptions About Student Socioeconomic Status on Grading Practices



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The current study investigated if teachers’ perceptions of student socioeconomic status (SES) resulted in higher grades for high-SES students compared to low-SES students. Sixty-nine participants read one of two nearly identical information sheets that included the student’s parents’ occupations as an indicator of SES. Participants then read one of two essays that had been previously graded as a “B,” and provided an overall rating of the essay, a numeric and letter grade, and ratings of the introduction and conclusion, strength of the thesis, structure of body paragraphs and sentences, and approximate number of grammatical errors. It was hypothesized that essays from low-SES students would receive lower ratings than essays from high-SES students; however, statistical analyses resulted in nonsignificant findings for all dependent variables. Additional analyses to determine if significant differences in the essays or in the essays per condition existed yielded nonsignificant findings. While the current research failed to find significant results in the grades assigned to low- and high-SES students, a discussion of how even non-significant differences may impact various academic outcomes for low-SES students is included.



socioeconomic status, SES, grading, education, teachers