The racial dynamic between teachers and students in the United States is increasing. The population of racial minority students continues to grow while the teacher population stays predominantly White. Equity and inclusion, often the foreground in an educational setting, are now being undervalued when needed the most. This study examined and compared pre-service and in-service teachers' implicit attitudes toward racial minority students while also looking at their self-efficacy beliefs in teaching diverse classrooms. Participants included nine pre-service teachers from a four-year university and nine PreK-3 in-service teachers. All participants were from the Southeastern part of the United States. To test the hypothesis that pre-service teachers will have more negative implicit attitudes toward racial minority students, this study used an Implicit Association Test. Although the t-test result comparing both groups, pre-service teachers versus in-service teachers, showed insignificant differences, raw data from participants' Implicit Association Tests showed that more pre-service teachers showed a slight bias towards students from racial majority groups. Results support recommendations and implications for practitioners to better understand how biases may occur in classrooms and how pre-service teachers can be better prepared to teach in diverse classrooms.

Keywords: implicit attitudes, implicit bias, racial dynamics, racial minority students, early childhood education

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Macy, Marisa


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


School of Teacher Education

Degree Program

Early Childhood Development and Education



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date