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IES Grant

Title: Effects of Implicit Bias on Children's Early Outcomes
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Boyd, Brian Awardee: University of Kansas
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2019-06/30/2023) Award Amount: $1,400,000
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A190199

Co-Principal Investigators: Iruka, Iheoma; Payne, Keith

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between implicit bias, teacher expectations, teacher–child interactions and child outcomes. There are disparities in child discipline and development that can manifest early for poor and/or minority children and can have lasting consequences. Previous research has shown that teachers demonstrate implicitpreferences towards White versus minority students. Self-fulfilling prophecies and teachers' lower expectations of children can start early in a child's school experience and negatively impact children, in particular racial/ethnic minorities. Identifying malleable factors that contribute to these disparities may inform teacher professional development, reduce education disparities, and improve student outcomes. Researchers will describe: 1) associations between the malleablefactors of teachers' implicit biases, teacher expectations, teacher–child interactions, and child outcomes; (2) how race/ethnicity and the mismatch between teachers and children moderate the relationship between teachers' implicit biases and child outcomes; and (3) the cumulative effects of implicit bias on child outcomes.

Project Activities: Researchers will use primary and secondary data sources to address the project's aims. Across four years, the team will recruit a total of 80 unique preschool classrooms, 160 preschool teachers, and sample 10 children per classroom. Researchers will collect data from teachers and conduct classroom observations in fall of each year. They will collect child assessment data in fall and spring of each year.

Products: Researchers will produce preliminary evidence of the association between implicit bias and children's school readiness skills and peer-reviewed publications. Researchers will prepare research briefs and present study findings at researcher and practitioner conferences.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in early care and education programs from 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Sample: The study sample will include 80 classrooms located within 27 preschool centers/sites serving primarily children from economically disadvantaged families. The researchers will use a stratified random sample to ensure proportional representation of children from different racial/ethnic groups. They will enroll 10 children from each classroom (n=800) to participate as well as have two teachers (n=160) per classroom complete implicit bias tasks.

Malleable Factors: Malleable factors include implicit bias, teacher expectations, and teacher-child interactions. Implicit bias refers to mental associations linking social groups to stereotypic attributes. These associations form the basis for stereotypic thoughts and feelings that come to mind involuntarily, independent of whether a person consciously believes or rejects those thoughts and feelings.

Research Design and Methods: This four-year project will involve primary data collection and secondary data analysis. Researchers will use secondary data from Educare preschool program sites and collect primary data from Educare program sites and a large preschool program in an urban area. Across four project years, the research team will recruit a total of 80 unique preschool classrooms, with 10 students enrolled per classroom. They will also recruit two teachers per classroom to address research questions related to implicit bias effects. Researchers will collect child language and social-emotional outcome data in the fall and spring of each year to examine child gains. In addition, they will collect data about teacher implicit biases, teacher expectations, and teacher-child interactions in the Fall of each year. In Year 4, the researchers will conduct analyses and disseminate the study findings.

Control Condition: Due to the exploratory nature of this study, there is no control group.

Key Measures: The research team will measure teacher expectations using a project-developed and validated 9-item rating scale. They will measure teacher-child interactions using the Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS), a direct observation measure. In addition, the researchers will assess language development using the Preschool-Language Scales-Fifth Edition (PLS-5) and social-emotional ability using the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA). They will also measure implicit bias using the Affect Misattribution Procedure, a computerized task.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use multilevel path analyses to examine the relationships between teacher and child variables. These analyses will adjust for the nesting of children within their teachers/classrooms and potentially within centers and control for the main effects of child sociodemographic characteristics and teacher/classroom characteristics.