In the News: Increasing Teacher Diversity Could Be a Game-Changer for Students’ Academic Attitudes

new working paper finds that

Students who share racial and/or gender characteristics with their teachers tend to report higher levels of personal effort, feeling cared for, student-teacher communication, academic engagement, and college aspirations.

ednext-june2016-blog-ototn-teacher-diversityThe research, by Brian Kisida and Anna Egalite, relies on Tripod surveys and other data from the Measures of Effective Teaching project to examine the impact of having demographically similar teachers on a wide range of students’ academic perceptions and attitudes.

The authors write in Real Clear Education

We observe the largest and most consistent effects when examining female students paired with female teachers, with particularly strong effects for black female students paired with black female teachers. We also find large effects for black male students assigned to black male teachers.


They note that the effect sizes found in this study are considerably larger than other studies have found when examining test-score effects.

An earlier piece by the authors for Education Next, “Education Without Representation,” looked at some of the research on the benefits of having a demographically similar teacher.

Ed Next also published a study by Tom Dee on this topic in 2004.

-Education Next



Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College