Classroom BiasesClassroom Biases

A bias is a type of prejudice against a person, event, situation, or group … Educational settings have several factors that naturally lend themselves to opportunities for bias – intentional or not … gender, culture, economics, and ethnicity —



Sternheimer, K. (2016, March 21). Does college alienate low income students? In Everyday Sociology Blog. Retrieved from

Although the steep price of a university education is one of the main reasons that low income students struggle, other factors, often hidden to the eyes of faculty and administration, add to their feelings of isolation. The author states that even interactions with other students and their instructors, who may not understand their struggles, can add to their stress levels. The author suggests solutions such as being aware that not every student can afford books and placing them on reserve and accommodating these students’ challenging schedules.

Sumi, V. S. (2012). Education and gender discrimination. In National Seminar on Women’s Rights–A Feminist Discourse. Retrieved from

Examines the educational gaps and inequality faced by females and offers ideas for combating inequity such as equity training for pre-service teachers, mandatory gender equity in-services for current teachers, and the evaluation of course materials and lectures for sexist language and scenarios.

Harper, S. R., & Davis III, C. F. (2016). Eight actions to reduce racism in college classrooms. Academe, 102(6), 30-34. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite Database.

The authors contend that instructors sometimes enable a racist climate in their classrooms. They can avoid a racist atmosphere by recognizing their implicit biases and racial illiteracy, quit thinking that all Black males are illiterate, stop expecting a Latina to speak for all of her compatriots, stop thinking that all Asians are the same, be cognizant of the looming stereotype threats, integrate diverse cultures into the curriculum, and implement other proactive measures to counter racism. They encourage faculty to realize that they may play a role in perpetuating racial inequities.

MacNell, L., Driscoll, A., & Hunt, A. (2015). What’s in a name: Exposing gender bias in student ratings of teaching. Innovative Higher Education, 40(4), 291-303. Retrieved from OmniFile Full-Text Select.

An experiment at the University of North Carolina in which two instructors in an online class identified as the opposite gender. Results revealed that students rated the instructor with the perceived female identity more harshly than the instructor with the perceived male identity. Discusses the need for increased understanding of how gender bias plays a role in teaching evaluations, which many institutions use to measure teaching proficiency.