Equity & Diversity What the Research Says

Can Black Teachers Draw More Students to Advanced Classes?

By Christina A. Samuels — March 10, 2020 1 min read

Black students are more likely to enroll in advanced coursework—honors classes, Advanced Placement courses, or International Baccalaureate classes—when a black teacher is among the educators teaching that course, according to a study of North Carolina students.

The study found that having a black teacher meant that the percentage of black students in advanced courses rose from 27 percent to 29 percent. Black students were not more likely to pass a class if they had a black teacher, but the overall advanced-coursework passing rate for black students did increase by a modest 1.5 percentage points.

Students of other races and ethnicities were also more likely to enroll in advanced courses if one of the teachers was black—and the impact for them was about as strong as it was on black students. Study author Cassandra M.D. Hart, an associate professor of educational policy at the University of California, Davis, noted that other research has shown that adolescents view Latino and black teachers more favorably than they do white teachers. Hart’s study drew on student data collected between 2007 and 2013, a sample that included nearly 266,000 black students.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 2020 edition of Education Week as Can Black Teachers Draw More Students to Advanced Classes?

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