Unraveling bias from student evaluations of their high school science teachers

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Abstract

In this study, the evaluation of high school biology, chemistry, and physics teachers by their students is examined according to the gender of the student and the gender of the teacher. Female teachers are rated significantly lower than male teachers by male students in all three disciplines, whereas female students underrate female teachers only in physics. Interestingly, physics is also the field that suffers the greatest lack of females and has been criticized most for its androcentric culture. The gender bias in teacher ratings persists even when accounting for academic performance, classroom experiences, and family support. Furthermore, male and female teachers in each discipline appear equally effective at preparing their students for future science study in college, suggesting that students have a discipline-specific gender bias. Such a bias may negatively impact female students and contribute to the loss of females in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed93:827–845, 2009

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