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The selection gap in teacher education: adverse effects of ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status on situational judgment test performance

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JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
DateSubmitted - 1 Aug 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Dec 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 26 Jan 2021
Number of pages20
Early online date26/01/21
Original languageEnglish


Background: Situational judgment tests (SJTs) measure non-cognitive attributes and have recently drawn attention as a selection method for initial teacher education programs. To date, very little is known about adverse impact in teacher selection SJT performance.
Aims: This study aimed to shed light on adverse effects of gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status (SES) on SJT scores, by exploring both main effects and interactions, and considering both overall SJT performance and separate SJT domain scores (mindset, emotion regulation, and conscientiousness).
Sample: A total of 2,808 prospective teachers completed the SJTs as part of the initial stage of selection into a teacher education program.
Methods: In addition to SJT scores, the variables gender (female vs. male), ethnicity (majority group vs. minority group), and home SES background (higher SES status vs. lower SES status) were used in the analyses. Moderated regression models were employed.
Results and conclusions: Gender effects (females scoring higher than males) were restricted to emotion regulation, while ethnicity effects (ethnic majority group members scoring higher than ethnic minority group members) emerged for SJT overall scores and all three domains. The results revealed significant interactions (gender and ethnicity; ethnicity and SES) for SJT overall scores and two domains. Considering the importance of reducing subgroup differences in selection test scores to ensure equal access to teacher education, this study’s findings are a critical contribution. The partially differentiated results for overall vs. domain-specific scores point towards the promise of applying a domain-level perspective in research on teacher selection SJTs.

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