London School of Economics Centre for the Economics of Education LSE
Centre for the Economics of Education  (CEE)

Abstract for:

Students’ Perceptions of Teacher Biases: Experimental Economics in Schools

Amine  Ouazad,  Lionel  Page,  January 2012
Paper No' CEEDP0133: | Full paper (pdf)
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Keywords: Teacher biases; educational achievement

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Is hard copy/paper copy available? YES - Paper Copy Still In Print.
This Paper is published under the following series: CEE Discussion Papers
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We put forward a new experimental economics design with monetary incentives to estimate students’ perceptions of grading discrimination. We use this design in a large field experiment which involved 1,200 British students in grade 8 classrooms across 29 schools. In this design, students are given an endowment they can invest on a task where payoff depends on performance. The task is a written verbal test which is graded non anonymously by their teacher, in a random half of the classrooms, and graded anonymously by an external examiner in the other random half of the classrooms. We find significant evidence that students’ choices reflect perceptions of biases in teachers’ grading practices. Our results show systematic gender interaction effects: male students invest less with female teachers than with male teachers while female students invest more with male teachers than with female teachers. Interestingly, female students’ perceptions are not in line with actual discrimination: Teachers tend to give better grades to students of their own gender. Results do not suggest that ethnicity and socioeconomic status play a role.