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      UNEQUAL RETURNS TO CHILDREN’S EFFORTS : Racial/Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Teachers’ Evaluations of Children’s Noncognitive Skills and Academic Ability

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          Abstract

          Research demonstrates the importance of noncognitive skills for educational achievement and attainment. Scholars argue that gender differences in noncognitive skills contribute to the gender gap in education. However, the intersection of student race/ethnicity and gender remains underexplored. Studies that examine how noncognitive skills affect gender or racial disparities in teachers’ perceptions of academic skills often assume that children’s noncognitive skills have the same benefit for all children. This is questionable given that research suggests that racial biases affect teachers’ perceptions of children’s noncognitive skills. Using national data, our paper examines how first-grade teachers’ ratings of approaches to learning affect their ratings of children’s academic skills. We also test if teachers’ ratings of children’s noncognitive skills have similar benefits across racial/ethnic and gender categories. We use two unidimensional approaches and an intersectional approach to gauge whether an intersectional approach gives us additional leverage that the unidimensional approaches obscure. The two unidimensional approaches reveal important results that suggest that children are differentially penalized by race/ethnicity or gender. Our race/ethnicity findings suggest that, in comparison to White children with identical noncognitive skills and test scores, teachers penalize Black children in math and advantage Asian children in literacy. Findings from our gender analyses suggest that teachers penalize girls in both math and literacy. Our intersectional findings indicate that an intersectional approach gives us additional leverage obscured by both unidimensional approaches. First, we find that Black girls and Black boys are differentially penalized in math. Secondly, for teachers’ ratings of literacy, our results suggest that teachers penalize Asian girls but not Asian boys in comparison to White boys. We discuss the implications of our study for understanding the complex relationship between noncognitive skills and social stratification.

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          Most cited references 44

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          Racial and Ethnic Stratification in Educational Achievement and Attainment

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            Gender differences in scholastic achievement: a meta-analysis.

            A female advantage in school marks is a common finding in education research, and it extends to most course subjects (e.g., language, math, science), unlike what is found on achievement tests. However, questions remain concerning the quantification of these gender differences and the identification of relevant moderator variables. The present meta-analysis answered these questions by examining studies that included an evaluation of gender differences in teacher-assigned school marks in elementary, junior/middle, or high school or at the university level (both undergraduate and graduate). The final analysis was based on 502 effect sizes drawn from 369 samples. A multilevel approach to meta-analysis was used to handle the presence of nonindependent effect sizes in the overall sample. This method was complemented with an examination of results in separate subject matters with a mixed-effects meta-analytic model. A small but significant female advantage (mean d = 0.225, 95% CI [0.201, 0.249]) was demonstrated for the overall sample of effect sizes. Noteworthy findings were that the female advantage was largest for language courses (mean d = 0.374, 95% CI [0.316, 0.432]) and smallest for math courses (mean d = 0.069, 95% CI [0.014, 0.124]). Source of marks, nationality, racial composition of samples, and gender composition of samples were significant moderators of effect sizes. Finally, results showed that the magnitude of the female advantage was not affected by year of publication, thereby contradicting claims of a recent "boy crisis" in school achievement. The present meta-analysis demonstrated the presence of a stable female advantage in school marks while also identifying critical moderators. Implications for future educational and psychological research are discussed.
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              The Growing Female Advantage in College Completion: The Role of Family Background and Academic Achievement

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
                Du Bois Rev.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                1742-058X
                1742-0598
                January 24 2020
                : 1-22
                Article
                10.1017/S1742058X20000016
                d3376375-c9b1-4803-8544-5fc22a7949ef
                © 2020

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