Do preservice teachers’ judgments and judgment accuracy depend on students’ characteristics? The effect of gender and immigration background

  • Meike BonefeldEmail author
  • Oliver Dickhäuser
  • Karina Karst


It is important for teachers to be able to accurately assess students’ performance. Such judgments can be influenced by characteristics of the student Südkamp et al. (J Educ Psychol 104:743–762, 2012. Besides students’ actual performance, students’ group characteristics (e.g., gender or immigration background) may effect teachers’ judgments. In addition, judgment accuracy might be different for various student groups. We conducted an online study of 168 preservice teachers. We presented within a virtual classroom mathematics test results of 12 fictitious second-grade students who differed in their actual performance in a mathematical test, immigration background, and gender. Preservice teachers made a judgment about the students’ current performance. Students’ actual performance, immigration background, and gender showed statistically significant main effects on the judgment. Students with (vs. without) an immigration background and female (vs. male) students were evaluated less favorably. These effects were qualified by a statistically significant three-way interaction between actual performance, immigration background, and gender. The joint examination of student characteristics in terms of judgment accuracy shows that it is precisely the interaction of student characteristics that makes a difference: female students with and without an immigration background as well as students without an immigration background are assessed more accurately, while male students with an immigration background are assessed significantly more inaccurately. In sum, the judgment made by preservice teachers about students’ performance differed in terms of student characteristics that were unrelated to performance such as immigration background and gender in addition to differing on performance-related variables.


Judgment accuracy Gender Immigration background Bias Teacher expectation Performance assessment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Participation in the following study was voluntary, and informed consent was obtained from all participants via online consent forms that were embedded in the survey. Every participant had to agree to the following statement: “I hereby confirm that I am of age, that I have read the consent form, and that I agree to take part in this study under the described conditions.” Participants were assured that all of their responses would remain confidential and they could stop filling in the questionnaire at any time. The studies were conducted in full accordance with the Ethical Guidelines of the German Association of Psychologists (DGPs) and the American Psychological Association (APA). At the time the data were acquired, it was not customary at most German universities to seek ethical approval for survey studies on such a subject. The study exclusively makes use of anonymous questionnaires. No identifying information was obtained from participants. We had no reason to assume that our survey would induce persisting negative states (e.g., clinical depression) in the participants.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Sciences, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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