Educators show the same unconscious bias favoring white people as the general U.S. population and use slightly lower academic standards when evaluating black students, finds a new study in the latest issue of the British Journal of Educational Psychology.
Researchers from the University of Virginia’s Project Implicit, which studies unconscious biases and how they affect behavior, asked more than 600 mostly white education professionals how they would select students for a hypothetical honor society. The study was part of a 2015 Education Week series on bias in K-12 schools.
They found educators at all levels required lower academic standards when choosing black applicants for the honor society, as compared with white applicants. The bias held even for participants that reported they had no racial biases. That finding mirrors previous studies of how members of the general public evaluated black and white candidates.
A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2017 edition of Education Week as School Diversity