This paper studies the extent of teacher’s discrimination in occupational expectations and analyses whether discrimination in occupational expectations would further perpetuate discrimination in grading on the basis of student’s caste and socio-economic status. The paper adopts an experimental approach and draws on data generated from 122 teachers from 19 schools in Delhi, India. Student’s caste and socio-economic status were randomly assigned to a set of essays written by students such that the assigned characteristics were not related to essay quality. The results show that teachers’ expect students belonging to low caste and low socio-economic status will be less likely to realize their occupational ambitions relative to students belonging to high caste and high socio-economic status. Consistent with this bias in expectations there is also a bias in grading which shows that low expectations of a teacher perpetuates discrimination in grades awarded. Essays assigned low caste and low socio-economic status characteristics are graded 3.64 points lower relative to essays assigned to high caste and high socio-economic status. Given the ultra-competitive nature of schooling in India and the importance of grades in determining access to higher education in India, a 3.64 point disadvantage is substantial. The estimates also show that there is a trade-off between caste and socio-economic status. Belonging to a high socio-economic status lowers the extent of discrimination faced by low caste students.

teacher discrimination, grading, occupational expectations, caste, socioeconomic status, Delhi, India
ISS Working Papers - General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Parashari, S. (2019). Teacher discrimination in occupational expectations and grading (No. 640). ISS Working Papers - General Series. Retrieved from