Stereotype Promise: Racialized Teacher Appraisals of Asian American Academic Achievement

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Asian American students are frequently stereotyped to be hardworking and academically talented. To what extent are teacher appraisals of Asian students influenced by such racial stereotypes? This article investigates this question through a quantitative analysis of high school students from the Educational Longitudinal Study. I find that even when controlling for a wide range of student and family characteristics, including standardized test scores, and comparing students within the same school, high school teachers express more favorable appraisals of Asian students relative to academically comparable White students along three dimensions. First, teachers report more positive assessments of Asian students’ attentiveness and performance in their classrooms. Second, they hold higher expectations for Asian students’ future educational attainment, typically expecting a college degree or more. Third, they are more likely to recommend Asian students for Advanced Placement and honors courses, signaling one concrete action by which teachers may act as gatekeepers to further reify Asian students’ academic success. Importantly, I find that math teachers remain more likely to engage in such behaviors net of their own subjective evaluations of student attitudes and behaviors, lending suggestive evidence to the claim that Asian youth benefit from racialized teacher expectations. The results more broadly suggest that differential teacher appraisals are a source of educational inequality across racial groups in the United States.




Okura, K. (2022). Stereotype Promise: Racialized Teacher Appraisals of Asian American Academic Achievement. Sociology of Education, 95(4), 302–319.

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