Teachers’ Perceptions of Immigrant Students and Students’ Achievement

Sarah Blanchard, University of Texas at Austin

Researchers have drawn inconsistent conclusions about bias in teachers’ perceptions of minority students and girls. Although the number of immigrant students in U.S. schools is increasing rapidly, there is a lack of research on teachers’ perceptions of foreign-born students. Using a nationally representative sample of U.S. high school students from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, this work evaluates teachers’ perceptions of work ethic by student nativity and ethnoracial identity, and how the effect of these perceptions, as measured by academic grades, varies across groups. Findings show that, net of objective criteria, teachers inequitably perceive foreign-born students as hardworking in ways that conform to ethnic and immigrant stereotypes. Further, these perceptions coincide with patterns of grading where immigrant students are both more rewarded and more penalized with respect to perceived work ethic. This work has important implications for the assimilation of immigrant students into the U.S. educational system.

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Presented in Session 48: Immigrant Integration and Assimilation