The feedback withholding bias: Minority students do not receive critical feedback from evaluators concerned about appearing racist

Alyssa Croft, Toni Schmader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

How can we learn from our mistakes if we're unaware they exist? The present research tested the hypothesis that minority students receive less critical feedback on their written work from evaluators who are primarily externally motivated to inhibit their racial biases. Participants highlighted instances of good/bad writing in essays purportedly written by a White or a minority student. Results of two experiments showed that although participants provided equivalent amounts of positive feedback to both authors, they provided less negative feedback and gave higher grades to minority authors to the extent that they were externally but not internally motivated to respond without prejudice. This finding reveals that stigmatized students sometimes fail to receive the critical feedback necessary to identify areas needing improvement, particularly when evaluators are concerned about appearing prejudiced. The implications for educational equality are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1144
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume48
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Feedback
  • Learning
  • Minority
  • Motivation
  • Prejudice
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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