Title: Rookie Mistakes: The Interplay of Teacher Experience and Racial Representation
Abstract: A growing body of research has documented the important benefits minority teachers bring to minority students, including higher expectations. Separately, researchers have shown that teachers improve student achievement with increasing effectiveness over their careers. We bridge these two streams of research by examining the extent to which teachers’ perceptions of racially dissimilar students improve with experience in the teaching profession. Using nationally representative, longitudinal data, we show that while the expectations gap between non-black and black teachers regarding black students’ academic potential persists regardless of experience, the gap is much larger for first year non-black teachers. We demonstrate that this gap shrinks as non-black teachers raise their expectations and black teachers, perhaps surprisingly, lower their expectations for black students after their first years. We discuss the implications of the results for both theory and practice.