Academic Expectations of Australian Students from Aboriginal, Asian and Anglo Backgrounds: Perspectives of Teachers, Trainee-teachers and Students
School of Arts and Humanities
UWA, The University of Western Australia
There are ethnic group differences in academic achievement among Australian students, with Aboriginal students performing substantially below and Asian students above their peers. One factor that may contribute to these effects is societal stereotypes of Australian Asian and Aboriginal students, which may bias teachers’ evaluations and influence student outcomes. A questionnaire assessing academic expectancies for hypothetical students from different ethnic groups was administered to 55 experienced teachers and 144 training teachers. A measure of self-expectancies and group expectancies was administered to 516 school students. The findings revealed that Asian students were expected to perform better in mathematics and expend greater effort than Aboriginal and Anglo-Australian students. In turn, there were higher expectancies for mathematics performance for Anglo-Australian students compared with Aboriginal students. We discuss the potential implications of these stereotypes for students’ school achievement, particularly the risk that negative implicit stereotypes might result in these students being directed to special education.