The importance of race and social class information in the formation of expectancies about academic performance
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.
Cooper, HM; Baron, RM; Lowe, CA
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