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Reducing Racial Bias in Student Opinions of Teaching through an Informational Primer

Caldwell, Keith (2019) Reducing Racial Bias in Student Opinions of Teaching through an Informational Primer. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The purpose of this inquiry was to examine the potential of an educational intervention used prior to students’ completion of the Student Opinion of Teaching (SOT) survey to reduce racial bias. Guided by the understanding of implicit association, the aim was to reduce students’ racial biases in SOTs. The inquiry was guided by one main question: Can an informational primer on the purpose of SOTs prior the students’ completion of SOTs mitigate racial bias?
A two-group comparison design guided this inquiry, and the intervention was conducted in all courses taught by the instructors in a social work program at the University of Pittsburgh during the fall 2018 who had taught the same course in the fall of 2017. The eligible population for the inquiry included a total of 169 undergraduate students who were enrolled in the courses in 2018, compared to an enrollment of 178 students in 2017, the sample included in the inquiry totaled 75 students. Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data from the SOTs, I utilized a mixed methods approach to the analysis of both sets of data, allowing the qualitative analysis to further contextualize the quantitative data.
The key findings from the inquiry revealed that students’ ratings of instructor teaching effectiveness through the SOT may increase through the inclusion of an informational primer on the purpose of SOTs, how they are utilized by instructors and administrators, and examples of useful feedback. Additionally, as currently designed, the SOT items may foster student implicit racial biases and the findings present a deeper understanding of the nature of perceived educational authority of the instructor by their students and its relationship with instructor race.
This inquiry identifies the need for better education for students, faculty, and administrators regarding the nature of SOTs, overall, not just its effect of implicit biases.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Caldwell, Keithkeith.caldwell@pitt.eduKJC450000-0002-1654-4657
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGarcia, Gina A.ggarcia@pitt.eduggarcia
Committee MemberCopeland, Valiresswvcc@pitt.edusswvcc
Committee MemberDeAngelo,
Date: 25 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 May 2019
Approval Date: 25 September 2019
Submission Date: 6 September 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 125
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Student Opinion of Teaching Racial Bias Faculty Evaluation
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 14:25
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 14:25


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