Discrimination in Education for the Poor

How pervasive are low educational expectations in very poor villages? Powerful enough to generate discrimination against test-scores of low caste students – by low caste instructors themselves. Here’s the paper from Hanna and Linden, and here’s the summary from Banerjee and Duflo:

In a study designed to find out whether this prejudice [of low expectations for students of poor families] influenced teachers’ behavior with students, teachers were asked to grade a set of exams. The teachers did not know the students, but half of the teachers, randomly chosen, were told the child’s full name (which includes the caste name). The rest were fully anonymous. The study found that on average, teachers gave significantly lower grades to lower-caste students when they could see their caste than when they could not. But interestingly, it was not the higher-caste teachers who were doing this. The lower-caste teachers were actually more likely to assign worse grades to lower-caste students. They must have been convinced these children could not do well.


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