Intergroup Evaluations and Norms about Learning Ability


Elizabeth A. Nowicki, Faculty of Education, The University of Western Ontario, 1137 Western Road, London, Ontario, N6G 1G7, Canada. Email:


Children's evaluations of classmates with learning difficulties tend to be less positive than their evaluations of classmates without learning difficulties; but it is not clear if these evaluations are associated with age, group norms, and group identification. These associations were examined within the context of inclusive elementary school classrooms. Participants (N = 192) were asked about their attitudes and their peers' attitudes towards children with or without learning difficulties. They were also asked to evaluate fictional target children who gave biased or unbiased opinions about children with or without learning difficulties. Results showed that group identification was predicted by age and group judgment. Participants with high group identification and judgment scores in favour of children without learning difficulties were inclined to believe other children would be similarly biased. However, most participants preferred the target child who gave unbiased opinions. Theoretical and educational implications are discussed.