The effect of gender on a simulated evaluation of candidates for elementary principal

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Committee Member

Gordon Foster, Committee Chair


This study examined the effects of candidate gender and level of management potential (high-low), as well as interviewer gender on a simulated management selection interview for a gender neutral position--elementary principal. Forty-one female and 49 male Dade County School administrators with the position of principal or higher participated. Each interviewer was presented with a management selection simulation about one candidate (male or female), with either high or low management potential rating. Interviewers were asked to make attributions for each candidate on ability, effort, task difficulty and luck utilizing a Likert-type scale.Results supported the hypotheses that interviewer gender, candidate gender, and level of management potential as main effects did not result in differential attributions in a gender neutral position. However, interviewer evaluations did indicate a two-way significant interaction of candidate gender and level of management potential. Female candidates with superior management potential scores were rated significantly higher in ability than male candidates with the same management potential scores.A three-way significant interaction across the independent variables of candidate gender, interviewer gender and level of management potential was indicated for the attribution of luck. Upward mobility for female candidates with high management potential scores was perceived by both male and female interviewers to depend on the external and unstable attribution of luck to a much greater degree than male candidates with identical management potential scores. Even female candidates with low management potential scores were perceived by male interviewers as being promoted in the future based on luck. Female interviewers did not provide data that supported this bias.The findings do not support the existence of any gender bias in the evaluation of candidates for elementary principal based solely on candidate efforts in the first level management selection interview. The gender bias surfaces with the addition of the independent variable of management potential as defined by assessment center results.


Education, Administration

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