TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Want That 'A' In Law School? It Helps If Your Professor Looks Like You.

Following up on Tuesday's post, Stereotype Threat, Role Models, And Demographic Mismatch At A Top 100 Law School:, Want that 'A' in Law School? It Helps If Your Professor Looks Like You.:

Fresh-faced law students will be showing up on campus later this month, gunning for top grades.
And their chances of landing a coveted A or A- in those all-important first-year courses are slightly better if their professors are the same race and sex as they are, according to recent research on the so-called “demographic mismatch” in law schools.

A trio of public administration professors examined demographics and grade data from an anonymous private law school ranked in the top 100 by U.S. News & World Report and found that first-year students were 3 percent less likely to get an A or A- when the class was taught by a professor of the opposite sex. Students were 10 percent less likely to receive those high grades when the professor was a different race. And the demographic mismatch effect was most pronounced among nonwhite female students, the researchers found.

The new paper throws cold water on the assumption that law students are immune to what’s known as the role model effect as well as stereotype threat—the phenomenon in which individuals feel anxiety or pressure to defy perceived stereotypes about their social group.

“These results provide novel evidence of the pervasiveness of role-model effects in elite settings and of the graduate-school education production function,” according to the paper, titled Stereotype Threat, Role Models and Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting.

Legal Education | Permalink


I wonder if this study incorporated schools with blind grading.

Posted by: Chris P. | Aug 9, 2018 3:58:47 PM

And if you think like your professor.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Aug 10, 2018 3:13:09 AM