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The Impact of Race, Physical Attractiveness, and Gender on Education Majors' and Teachers' Perceptions of Student Competence

Felicia R. Parks and Janice H. Kennedy
Journal of Black Studies
Vol. 37, No. 6 (Jul., 2007), pp. 936-943
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40034962
Page Count: 8
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The Impact of Race, Physical Attractiveness, and Gender on Education Majors' and Teachers' Perceptions of Student Competence
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Abstract

Stereotypical thinking and prejudgments from teachers have been found to hinder students' academic and social performance. The relationship between students' race, physical attractiveness, gender, and perceived academic and social competence by both undergraduate education majors and practicing teachers was investigated. Participants were 72 individuals (51 teachers, 21 undergraduate education majors) at a midsized university. Participants viewed eight scenarios (varying by race, gender, and physical attractiveness of target child) in which a child's picture was displayed. Participants then rated the child's social and academic competence on an eight-question, 5-point, Likert-type scale. A 4-way (Child Gender × Child Race × Child Physical Attractiveness × Rater Educational Level) mixed factorial design was used to test the hypotheses. Results showed that the lowest competency ratings were for Black, unattractive boys. No differences were found for ratings by teacher education level. These findings have implications for training of classroom teachers.

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