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CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminar: Marcos Rangel, First Impressions Matter: Evidence from Elementary-School Teachers
September 23, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
On September 23, 2022, Marcos Rangel will present “First Impressions Matter: Evidence from Elementary-School Teachers” as part of the Carolina Population Center’s 2022-2023 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series.
Rangel is an applied microeconomist. His research focuses on the patterns of accumulation of human capital with particular attention to the intra-family decision process (parents and children), to the impact of policies to foment education and health, and to racial differentials. His research has contributed to a better understanding of how the negotiations between mother and fathers, and also how families insert themselves into societies, influence the allocation of resources towards investment in human capital of children.
We study the empirical relevance of first impressions in the context of education. We find that teachers who begin their careers in classrooms with large White-Black incoming score differentials carry negative views into evaluations of future cohorts of Black students relative to their White classmates. Our evidence is based on novel data on blind evaluations and non-blind public school teacher assessments of fourth and fifth graders in North Carolina. Teachers’ perceptions are particularly sensitive to relatively low-performing Black students in early classrooms, but not to relatively high-performing Black students. Since teacher expectations can shape grading patterns and sorting into academic tracks as well as students’ own beliefs and behaviors, these findings suggest an important link between specific novice teachers’ initial experiences and the persistence of racial gaps in educational achievement and attainment.