Asian Americans are often perceived as a “model minority” in classrooms. While this stereotype seems positive, it may raise expectations for Asian students and bolster negative stereotypes for students in other minority groups due to teacher bias. This brief summarizes findings from a study that used data from the North Carolina Education Research Data Center (NCERDC) from 2007 to 2013 to identify the presence of positive bias in teachers’ assessments towards Asian American students in grades 3-8 and its effects on other minority groups. The authors find that teachers rate Asian students’ academic skills more favorably than similar White students in the same classroom with the same performance and behavior. In addition, the ‘‘model minority” stereotype negatively impacts other minority groups. Teachers respond to the presence of any Asian student in the classroom by widening Black-White and Hispanic-White assessment gaps. The authors conclude that teacher assessment patterns that set Asian students apart from other groups of minority students harm all students.

Document Type

Policy Brief




Teacher Evaluation, Racial Bias, Asian Americans




Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs


Policy Briefs Series


The authors thank Alyssa Kirk and Shannon Monat for edits on previous versions of this brief and Harneet Kaur for her work as a Research Assistant on this brief. The authors also thank the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs for support of this project through the Appleby Mosher Fund for Faculty Research.


Education Policy | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy | Race and Ethnicity

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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