Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Kevin Bennett (Committee Member), Gary Burns (Committee Member), Martin Gooden (Committee Member), Tamera Schneider (Advisor)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The effect of implicit bias on discriminatory grading in education has received considerable attention but, to date, no study has examined the effectiveness of using a rubric to reduce biased grading. Current research has demonstrated that the presence of a gender-normative name is sufficient to activate implicit gender bias, which can result in disparate treatment. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of implicit and explicit gender bias on grading decisions for written assignments. When grading identical essays on the topic of computers (stereotypically-male), participants assigned significantly lower grades when the essay was supposedly written by a female author, compared to a male author. This difference was more pronounced in participants who had a stronger implicit association of men with science (high implicit bias). Male and female author grades did not differ when assigned by participants who were low in implicit bias. Further, participants who were high in implicit bias, but reported low explicit prejudice toward women in STEM graded the female author more harshly than the male author. This study also investigated the effectiveness of using a rubric to decrease bias effects on grading. Unexpectedly, use of the rubric enhanced the effect of implicit bias on grading when the author gender and essay topic were stereotype-inconsistent (i.e. female computer author). It is possible that rubric use further depleted cognitive resources already limited by dissonant implicit and explicit attitudes. While rubrics might increase the perception of objectivity, they might also inadvertently serve to amplify the effect of implicit gender bias when the topic being graded is strongly-gender normative.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded