Presentation (Project) Title

The Relationship Between Gender, Race, and Picture Stimuli Selection in First-Graders

Mentor Information

Trina Spencer (College of Behavioral & Community Sciences)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Race and gender can influence the preferences and choices of young children (Jensen et al, 2020; Renneles et al, 2014). However, little is known about if or how race or gender can affect students’ selection of testing stimuli when given choices during language-based assessments. In this study, stimulus picture sets were presented to 155 first-graders as writing or oral retell prompts at three different time points. One stimulus set, the Narrative Generation Writing (NGW) stimuli, included images of children from varying genders and races. The other stimulus set, the Expository Oral Retell (ERO) stimuli, included images of non-human scientific topics. The purpose of this study was to examine students’ race and gender and the impact their demographics had on their selection of different assessment stimuli for NGW and ERO tasks. Chi-squared analyses were used to examine the relationship between the frequency of student stimulus set selection and student gender and race. For the NGW assessments, there was a significant difference in stimulus selection between male and female students, but not among different racial categories. Female students most frequently selected stimuli featuring a female character, while male students most frequently selected stimuli featuring a male character. In comparison, the results of the ERO assessment indicated that neither gender nor race significantly predicted stimulus set selection. These results may reveal more about the biases young children have, which has implications for future language assessments and how to ensure stimuli that are used reduce, not increase, racial or gender biases.

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The Relationship Between Gender, Race, and Picture Stimuli Selection in First-Graders

Race and gender can influence the preferences and choices of young children (Jensen et al, 2020; Renneles et al, 2014). However, little is known about if or how race or gender can affect students’ selection of testing stimuli when given choices during language-based assessments. In this study, stimulus picture sets were presented to 155 first-graders as writing or oral retell prompts at three different time points. One stimulus set, the Narrative Generation Writing (NGW) stimuli, included images of children from varying genders and races. The other stimulus set, the Expository Oral Retell (ERO) stimuli, included images of non-human scientific topics. The purpose of this study was to examine students’ race and gender and the impact their demographics had on their selection of different assessment stimuli for NGW and ERO tasks. Chi-squared analyses were used to examine the relationship between the frequency of student stimulus set selection and student gender and race. For the NGW assessments, there was a significant difference in stimulus selection between male and female students, but not among different racial categories. Female students most frequently selected stimuli featuring a female character, while male students most frequently selected stimuli featuring a male character. In comparison, the results of the ERO assessment indicated that neither gender nor race significantly predicted stimulus set selection. These results may reveal more about the biases young children have, which has implications for future language assessments and how to ensure stimuli that are used reduce, not increase, racial or gender biases.