Title: Cultural differences in teachers' narrative evaluations of students in non-academic areas: a study of school report cards of students from four ethnic backgrounds

Authors: Hong Ni; Chieh Li

Addresses: Department of Psychology, California State University-Fresno, 2576 E. San Ramon Avenue M/S ST11, Fresno, CA 93740-8039, USA ' Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology, Northeastern University, 404 International Village, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Abstract: This study explored an important but often neglected area of educational assessment - cultural differences in teachers' evaluations of diverse students. We examined how US teachers applied 13 themes of evaluation criteria in non-academic areas to students of four ethnicities in narrative evaluations in student report cards. Teachers' narrative evaluations of 565 elementary students were examined. Binary logistic regression was used to analyse the presence of teacher references across the 13 themes in their narrative evaluations of students. The effect of ethnicity was examined after controlling for gender, family income, and academic performance. Compared to Caucasian students, significantly more Asian students received positive comments on carefulness; significantly more African American students received negative comments on social development and classroom behaviour. We found no significant differences in teachers' references by ethnicity on majority of the themes. The study calls for awareness of implicit cultural norms and their potential impact on student evaluation.

Keywords: teacher evaluation; student evaluation; teacher expectations; ethnicity; cultural differences; narrative evaluations; non-academic areas; school report cards; ethnic backgrounds; educational assessment; evaluation criteria; elementary education; carefulness; social development; classroom behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJQRE.2013.056464

International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, 2013 Vol.1 No.2, pp.123 - 146

Published online: 29 Apr 2014 *

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