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A study published by Lastinger Center researcher Mary Bratsch-Hines and collaborators at UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State explores the relations between teacher-child racial/ethnic match and academic achievement.


The purpose of this study was to explore whether evidence that children have significantly higher achievement and more positive relationships with their teachers when assigned to a teacher of their same race/ethnicity extended to the earliest grades. Using data from a three-year project in North Carolina, we descriptively examined teacher-child racial/ethnic match exposure in prekindergarten (PK), kindergarten (K), and first grade (G1). In exploratory inferential analyses, we further used a two-way fixed-effects (child and time) approach to associate teacher-child racial/ethnic match with academic achievement and teacher-child relationships, moderated by race/ethnicity and grade. Parents/caregivers reported their child’s race/ethnicity, and of the sample of children (n = 447), 34% were identified as Black, 42% as Latinx, and 24% non-Latinx White, with 10% of children identified as more than one race/ethnicity. Black children commonly experienced a race match in PK, but this likelihood decreased over time through G1. In contrast, the likelihood that White children experienced a match increased through G1. Latinx children were unlikely to experience a match in any grade. Teacher-child racial/ethnic match was positively associated with children’s English language scores, with no suggestion that this effect varied by race or grade. In addition, a positive association between match and reading scores was evident only for Latinx children and only in PK, but not K or G1. Match was not significantly associated with math scores or teacher-reported relationships with children.


    Bratsch-Hines, M., Cohen-Vogel, L., Little, M., Lindsay, C. A., Carr, R. (2022, December). Teacher-child racial/ethnic match from prekindergarten through first grade: Understanding early exposure and outcomes. Science Direct.