Although teachers are advised to base final report-card grades on academic achievements, researchers have known for some time that student characteristics influence teacher assigned grading. Such as classroom behavior, perceived level of interest and effort.
Recently, Researchers questioned if socioeconomic status also influenced teacher assigned grading.
Data from 154 fourth grade classrooms was analyzed to determine if students with lower social status are assigned lower grades, than students with higher social status (higher income, education level and social status).
In addition to studying the impact of social status, they researched the link between socioeconomic status and effort, behavior and gender on teacher assigned math grades.
Controls: Researchers used standardized test scores to identify and compare students of similar achievement levels and different social status.
1. Effort and Behavior: Teachers were asked to rate the effort and behavior of the classroom. Teachers perceived behavior and effort to be lower in classrooms with lower social status, than classrooms with higher social status.
Consistent with earlier studies, both behavior and effort were shown to influence teacher assigned grading in mathematics.
2. Gender: Girls with similar achievement, behavior, and social status were assigned lower grades in math than boys.
Perhaps in response to the gender-specific stereotypes attributing higher mathematical talent to boys.
3. Immigration Status: Was found to have no influence on teacher assigned grading.
4. Teacher’s socioeconomic background: Was found to have no influence on teacher assigned grading.
5. Socioeconomic status: Despite the other influencers, with all things being equal, teachers still assigned lower scores to students and entire classrooms with lower social status.
Overall, children just slightly below average social status scored half a grade point lower than similar students of average social status.
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Source:Westphal, A., Becker, M., Vock, M., Maaz, K., Neumann, M., McElvany, N., The Link Between Teacher-Assigned Grades and Classroom Socioeconomic Composition: The Role of Classroom Behavior, Motivation, and Teacher Characteristics, Contemporary Educational Psychology (2016), doi: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2016.06.004