The Same and Other Race Effects: The Minority Classroom Experience

Student: Micaela Watson
Major: Psychology
Minor: Education
Advisors: Ashley Abraham, Grit Herzmann

Good quality lessons help students learn the material and succeed. Specifically, for students the same race as their teacher, the same-race effect is said to be beneficial in helping these students increase their academic performance. On the opposite ends bad quality lessons and the other-race effect would not increase academic performance and could potentially lower it. The same-race effect is said to benefit students in minority groups the most because of increased representation. This study looks at whether minority participants learn better from teachers of their same race. This study also looks at how effective lesson quality is when it is combined with the same and other race effects.

Micaela will be online to field comments on May 8:
4-6pm EDT (PST 1pm-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

34 thoughts on “The Same and Other Race Effects: The Minority Classroom Experience”

  1. Congratulations, Micaela. This is such an important research question!
    If I’m understanding your research design correctly, it appears that students watched a video of the lesson. If the instructor is having no interaction with the students because of the online/video aspect, how might this affect the implicit or explicit biases that have a significant impact on minority students’ experiences in the classroom?
    I hope you keep exploring this area of inquiry, and that it inspires future Psych-Education students, too!

    1. Thank you! The implicit bias of the instructor can make them nervous or anxious when they are teaching. When the instructor is nervous then they are not able to teach as well which would lower the minority students’ performance. This can impact minority students both in-person, and through online/videos. For explicit bias instructors would show outward signs of bias. This happens more when instruction is in-person but if an instructor is showing these signs in a video or online then the minority students’ performance could also be impacted.

  2. Congrats to you – such an interesting topic.
    Best wishes fo an exciting next step post-Wooster!

  3. Congrats to you – great topic.
    Best wishes fo an exciting next step post-Wooster!

  4. Congratulations, Micaela!
    Thank you for tackling this important topic. The same-race/other-race issue is something my mother studied in her psychology PhD dissertation in the 1970s. She is still interested in the topic (as am I) and I will let her know I read your presentation.
    I’m interested in the “teacher nervousness” aspect you mention. What is this due to?
    (Mother of a ’13 Wooster grad)

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that you two are so interested in the topic! The “teacher nervousness” is due to teachers having implicit bias. This is when people hold subconscious beliefs about a certain group. Since these beliefs are subconscious teachers do not realize they have these beliefs but the signs of the bias are shown through the teachers being nervous.

  5. Micaela, This is very interesting, I do have a question were all the minority participants African American? You mention that they were all minorities – but does it hold with just like minority groups i.e. African American teacher and student or with any minority group i.e. a Native American student with an African American teacher.

    1. All of the participants in the minority group were not African American. If they self-identified as a race other than White then they were placed into the minority group. Since, there were multiple races in the minority group and they performed the best overall the teacher and student race did not have to match exactly as long as the teacher identifies as a minority.

  6. Terrific. A very interesting study. How much impact do you think the topic has on the learning? Why did you choose AAV as the topic? What kinds of questions did you ask to assess learning?

    Thank you for your presentation and congratulations on completing your IS.

    1. Thank you! Since, the topic was new and interesting I think it had some impact on learning because participants would be more engaged with the video. I chose AAVE because I needed a topic where participants would not have prior knowledge. AAVE is also a controversial topic that focuses on race so teaching about this topic could bring up implicit bias for teachers which could impact their lessons and their students’ performance. I asked multiple choice questions on the assessment that pulled directly from the two lesson videos.

  7. Good job, Micaela

    If I understand your slides correctly, your findings demonstrate the need for more quality instruction regardless of student-teacher race, correct? Was this a continuation of the work you described in our Psyc in Education class? If so, did you have the “other race” teacher always go first or did you have the “same race” teacher go first sometimes?

    Congrats on completing IS, Micaela
    Dr. W

    1. Thank you! Yes, we do need more quality instruction regardless of student-teacher race since the participants in the White group were able to still perform well when they had a good quality lesson. However, having a teacher the same race gives students an extra performance boost. This study was similar to my work in our Psychology in Education class. In this study I only had one teacher, who was African American, rather than two but still had the two different groups for comparison. I also added the lesson quality variables with the same and other race effects.

  8. Excellent sujet de recherche, Micaela! Un sujet d’étude très important pour nous les professeurs. Merci! Micaela, I really enjoyed having you in class. My best wishes for your career after Wooster… et toutes mes félicitations!

  9. This was really cool Micaela!
    It kind of hurts my heart a little knowing I probably would have done better if I had any latino/arab teachers in high school, but I feel more motivated to pursue my goals of being a teacher with your results in mind! Maybe I could be that representation for my own students. This was great work, and I’m happy to have known you while you were at Woo. I hope you go on to do AMAZING things in Cali! Wishing you the best!!!

    1. Thank you so much Marcel!! That means a lot I’m so glad I could motivate you!!

  10. Micaela,
    This is such an important topic. Thank you for sharing here. Could you explain a bit more on what you mean by “lesson quality”? Was this the judgment of the participants or are you saying that there is a way to measure the quality of a lesson? Thank you!

    1. There were two different lesson qualities good and bad. The good lesson used details, explanation, and the correct presentation style such as not reading off of the slides, facing forward, and projecting one’s voice. The bad lesson demonstrated a more nervous person where their voice fluctuates in volume, they have more jittery movements, and turning their back toward the audience. This is how the lessons were measured. The lesson ratings were how the participants rated these lessons based on the above factors.

  11. Hi Micaela–thanks for your work on this important topic! I’m also wondering how you set about designing “good” vs “bad” lessons and whether the same teacher delivered all the lessons or whether you had multiple different presenters. Finally, I’d like to know if there were further dimensions of stereotype threats or other factors that you considered, or that you might try to measure in future studies. Thanks again, and congratulations!

    1. I focused on implicit bias as creating bad lessons because teachers can show signs of anxiety or being nervous when they experience implicit bias which can lower their students’ performance. For, bad lessons the teacher displayed nervous movements such as pacing back and forth, not projecting their voice, or blocking the lesson on the board. The good lesson was the opposite so the teacher did not show signs of nervousness. For this lesson teachers projected, faced forward, and explained the topic without reading off slides. The same teacher delivered all of the lessons. My study had some background in stereotype threat which I could look into more if I focused on explicit bias of teachers. I also looked at how we could decrease or monitor implicit bias with teachers. I think cultural competency training might be the way to go and I would like to research if cultural competency trainings can get rid of implicit bias. I would also like to look into lowering nervousness in teachers in general. An interesting finding was that even though lessons were rated correctly the minority participants rated the lessons lower. I was not aspecting this and would like to see why this might be and how this could effect end of the year teacher evaluations.

  12. Congratulations on completing and presenting your IS! Your topic is so thought provoking and I am thankful that you chose to ask these questions. As a math teacher, I am curious as to your thoughts on the same race/other race effect regarding the lesson content for your study. Would you predict a greater effect size in a math class or do you think the content of the lesson does not impact the overall student performance?

    1. I think that the content has some impact on students because they have different academic backgrounds. I chose the topic of AAVE for my study because most people do not know about it so it would be fair. I would expect in a topic like math there would be similar effects in the fact that minority students would perform better with a minority teacher and White students with a White teacher. I think that it would increase their scores but that does not mean that they all would be the best math students in the class because of different math skills.

  13. Hi Michaela,
    What a strong and worthy topic to explore! Congratulations on accomplishing your IS—so much to be proud of! I am super intrigued to know whether or not you have any thoughts on the role that gender plays as well? I am guessing it might and curious what you think or came across in your research. Congratulations again and best of luck as you pursue your passions and career interests beyond Woo!

    1. I have come across some research where being the same gender as your teacher helps especially for women who are in a male dominated field such as STEM. The instructor in my study was female so I suspect that the female participants may have done better than the male participants but I did not look at this specifically. For future research I am interested in looking at the gender effects as well.

  14. Hi Micaela,
    I don’t know much about education or psychology, but I wonder why you choose AAVE instead of a more racially irrelevant class, which might make the experiment more objective and convincing. But still congratulations!!

    1. I chose AAVE because most people do not have prior knowledge on the topic which would make the study fair, objective, and unbiased. My study also focuses on how implicit bias can hinder teachers’ lessons. Since teachers have to teach controversial topics and racially relevant lessons in the classroom, this can trigger their implicit bias which hinders their lessons and in-turn lowers students’ performance. I needed a topic that participants knew nothing about and focuses on race and AAVE fits both criteria.

  15. Micaela,

    Thank you so much for this presentation of your research, and congratulations on your IS! I found your research questions to be really interesting, and immediately relevant for schools at every level that seek to create inclusive and equitable teaching and learning environments. Your insights will certainly spark more important research in these areas.

    I wish you all the very best for the future! Congratulations, again. Pres. Bolton

  16. Wonderful work Micaela! Understanding the ORE is so important especially in education. I wish you the best and congratulations!

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