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Can Sex-Undifferentiated Teacher Expectations Mask an Influence of Sex Stereotypes?
Alternative Forms of Sex Bias in Teacher Expectations1


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    The authors thank Julien Chanal and Damien Tessier for their help in collecting the data, and Brenda Major for her helpful comments on previous drafts of the manuscript.

Philippe Sarrazin, Laboratoire Sport et Environnement Social, Université Joseph Fourier, UFRAPS, BP53, 38041 Grenoble cedex 9, France. E-mail:


This research investigated different forms of sex bias in teacher expectations relative to gymnastics performance. First, a laboratory experiment including 163 physical education teachers confirmed that stereotypes favorable to boys may influence teacher expectations in gymnastics. Next, a naturalistic study involving 15 teachers and 422 students showed that teachers expected no sex differences, even though girls performed better than boys. However, this sex bias was a result of reliance on nondiagnostic student personal characteristics favorable to boys, rather than on a stereotype per se. These results suggest that egalitarian beliefs may mask a bias in favor of a social group when group differences actually exist, and that sex-biased teacher expectations do not inevitably involve an influence of sex stereotypes.