Combatting Unconscious Bias in Education

Last registered on December 03, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Combatting Unconscious Bias in Education
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008620
Initial registration date
November 30, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 03, 2021, 2:49 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Zurich

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Reading
PI Affiliation
University of Reading

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-11-01
End date
2023-07-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
The intervention consists of Unconscious Bias Training (UBT) designed specifically for primary school teachers. The training builds on rich evidence from an ever-growing interdisciplinary literature and has been fine-tuned to the primary school setting via two pilot studies in both the UK and Italy. Our theory of change is that making teachers aware of the existence and pervasiveness of unconscious bias and suggesting concrete actions to counter it (targeting classroom environments, modes of communication and feedback, and teaching Unconscious Bias (UB) to children) can improve teacher practices, learning environments, and, in the long run, pupils’ outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Biroli, Pietro, Marina Della Giusta and Florent Dubois. 2021. "Combatting Unconscious Bias in Education." AEA RCT Registry. December 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8620
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention consists of Unconscious Bias Training (UBT) designed specifically for primary school teachers. The training builds on rich evidence from an ever-growing interdisciplinary literature and has been fine-tuned to the primary school setting via two pilot studies in both the UK and Italy. Our theory of change is that making teachers aware of the existence and pervasiveness of unconscious bias and suggesting concrete actions to counter it (targeting classroom environments, modes of communication and feedback, and teaching Unconscious Bias (UB) to children) can improve teacher practices, learning environments, and, in the long run, pupils’ outcomes.
Intervention Start Date
2021-11-30
Intervention End Date
2022-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
teacher’s ability to recognize bias, changes in teaching practices, and disadvantaged pupils’ performance
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Teachers' ability to recognize bias is measured by using a database of 100 images coming from Pearson textbooks. These images have been previously selected and rated by Pearson experts. The measurement consists of the teachers evaluating how stereotypical an image is on a 1-5 Likert scale. They are presented with a series of 20 images and they will do this exercise twice, one at the registration step and the other after the evaluation is done.

Changes in teaching practices are measured with a survey that will be repeated post-evaluation. We ask about the frequency of group work, role games and simulation, debates and Socratic seminars, presentation of students' research, vote to decide between activities, use of ICT (information and communication technology), and students' auto-evaluation.

Pupils' performance is assessed via a simple test done twice (before and after the intervention). The test is divided into four thematic categories: Math, Language, Verbal reasoning, and Non-verbal reasoning. Each theme is divided into two questions with a box for the final result and another one for details and explanations about how they reach the final result. We then identify disadvantaged pupils via a survey conducted at the same time asking for characteristics such as gender, disability, or migrant status. The test is then double-marked by teachers, first openly, then blindly (with the pupil's information hidden).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
teachers’ enjoyment as well as pupils’ learning environment, well-being, and aspirations
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Teachers' enjoyment is measured with a survey conducted twice (before and after the intervention). We ask about their satisfaction with several aspects of teaching on a 1-7 Likert scale: teaching in general, life in general, their work, their school, their colleagues, their relationship with students, their relationship with the students' families.

The pupils' learning environments are measured through a survey conducted twice (before and after the intervention). The pupils are asked about their overall well-being in the classroom, how much they like school, how easily they can get help for schoolwork, the extent of anti-social behaviours in their classroom and their school, and reactions from their teacher and school. All questions are based on Likert scales.

We measure the pupils' aspirations and expectations in a survey conducted twice (before and after the intervention). We first ask pupils about their dream job via an open question, then how confident their parents and teacher are in them achieving this goal on a 1-5 Likert scale.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study consists of a two-arm randomized controlled trial. The treatment arm is an unconscious bias training tailored for primary school teachers. The training consists of three sessions. The control arm is a training programme on digital skills and inclusive teaching, and will have exactly the same amount of hours of intervention and at the same time as the treated teachers.
The research population will include grade 3-4-5 teachers and pupils in Italian primary schools. The schools are recruited by Pearson.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
individual-level randomization of teacher done by the computer once the teacher signs up on the website
Randomization Unit
Teacher
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
300 teachers. 100 in the first year of the study and 200 in the following year
Sample size: planned number of observations
300 teachers and roughly 1000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
150 teachers per arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
the minimum detectable effect size with 100 teachers individually and equally randomized between treatment and control arm is 0.28 of a standard deviation. Once we will reach 300 teachers we will have an MDE of 0.16
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Reading School of Politics, Economics and International Relations Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-27
IRB Approval Number
N/A