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The Effect of Race on Peer Evaluation and Preference in Primary Grade Children: An Exploratory Study NICHD

Koslin, Sandra Cohen; Amarel, Marianne; Ames, Nancy P.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), African Americans, Classroom Environment, Elementary School Students, Interviews, Psychological Studies, Racial Attitudes, Sampling


The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes of students in the primary grades with regard to the learning ability, school behavior, and social desirability as classmates of White and Black children. Subjects were 120 first and second graders at an all White, an all Black, and an integrated school. In individual interviews, subjects were shown pairs of sketches of classroom events taking place in predominantly White and predominantly Black classes and were asked to make judgments about the academic achievement, niceness, school behavior, friendliness, and general desirability of the children in the pictured classes. White subjects showed a striking preference for predominantly White classes, whereas Black subjects were less consistent. Of these, some preferred the White classrooms, some the Black classrooms, and others showed no preference at all. Test-retest reliability over a four-week interval was .63 for the entire sample.

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