The importance of race and social class information in the formation of expectancies about academic performance


Journal Article

Studied the perceived locus of control, expected academic performance, and relative importance of 5 causal factors (ability, effort, luck, task difficulty, and quality of instruction) in the academic performance of a stimulus student. Both the race (Black vs White) and social class (middle vs lower) of the stimulus student were varied. Ss were enrolled in elementary education (n = 64) or introductory psychology (n = 64). Results indicate that middle-class Ss were expected to receive higher grades than lower-class Ss (p < .001), and that White middle-class Ss were held more internally responsible for failure than any other student type (p < .01). Elementary education Ss estimated higher grades than did introductory psychology Ss (p < .001), and the former saw quality of instruction as a more important factor in academic performance (p < .005). Also, elementary education Ss viewed task difficulty as less important in the performance of Black middle-class Ss (p < .01), whereas introductory psychology Ss regarded task difficulty (p < .01) and quality of instruction (p < .01) as more important for White lower-class Ss than any other student group. Results are discussed by constructing 4 student profiles that highlight the salience of environmental factors in the impressions of lower-class students. Implications of the findings for stereotyping research in general are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1975 American Psychological Association.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cooper, HM; Baron, RM; Lowe, CA

Published Date

  • April 1, 1975

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 67 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 312 - 319

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0663

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/h0077006

Citation Source

  • Scopus