Law Professors

Law students less likely to get A's from professors who are a different gender or race, study finds

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An AccessLex Institute-funded research paper has found that first-year law students are 3 percent less likely to get A's or A-minuses in classes taught by someone of the opposite gender, and 10 percent less likely to earn A's or A-minuses when the class is taught by someone of a different race.

The paper, published in July 2018, was written by public administration professors, and based on data from a private law school, reports. The paper did not name the school, but it did state that its in a city with significant racial diversity, and a has a majority of female students. It’s titled “Stereotype Threat, Role Models and Demographic Mismatch in an Elite Professional School Setting.”

The grade differences found could add up to “nontrivial differences” in cumulative GPAs and class rankings, which may play a role in underrepresented students being awarded prestigious internships and job opportunities, according to the paper. To improve the profession’s diversity, it advises increasing diversity among law school faculty.

Based on a statistical analysis, the authors also found that having a professor of a different race may have a stronger influence on grades than having a professor of the opposite sex, They also found that demographic mismatch seemed to play no role regarding grades that are lower than a B-minus.

There’s a fair amount of research regarding demographics between teachers and students at the elementary, high school and undergraduate levels, but few regarding graduate programs, according to the paper,

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