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by jaimebradley

Stereotype Threat Widens Achievement Gap

Racial and gender peculiarities are said to predispose one to bad results. Thus, African Americans and girls are said to be affected most by this believe.

Date:   9/30/2021 12:37:39 PM   ( 8 mon ) ... viewed 124 times

A study suggests that there is a myth about the fact that genetics and cultural differences cause students to demonstrate poor academic performances and lead to their bad results in other standardized tests. However, a study shows that negative stereotypes cause anxieties and doubts and in the minds of the test takers. This led to the myth of “stereotype threat”. Moreover, it was what made psychologists Joshua Aronson, Claude Steele, and Steven Spencer to research more. They found out that always reminding someone that they belonged to a certain group, can wreck havoc with attest performance. They went ahead and studied how group stereotype can affect the performance of the student and his or her self evaluation. They found out that social-psychology believes can destroy the members of any group who has a negative stereotype.

This was experimented by Aronson and Steele who gave white and black students a test. It was already done earlier, but at that time the students were told that the test was to examine their intellectual abilities. This suggested that they wanted to prove that the white were better than the black. The results favored them as the white did better than the black. However, during the second test there was given the instruction that the test was problem solving assignment and did not determine the intellectual ability of the students. This destroyed the stereotype. Black student’s performance matched to one of white, contrary to their expectations. It proved that in a condition of no stereotype threat black and white students had almost equal results that implies about the equality of their intellectual abilities. A study suggested that when students are mentioned about their race, it is immediately printed in their minds (stereotype) and they ended up performing worse than the white.

Three psychologists found that telling females that a math test did not imply any gender discrepancies increased their performances. They conducted another test where they gave a math test to ten men and ten women; half of the women were told that the test was about gender difference, while the other half was told vise versa. After the results, those women who never told about gender issues performed the same way as men, while their counterpart demonstrated significantly poorer results than men. These two experiments were done with the best students and women who performed better in maths.

Through innovative research, psychologists have come to see the main barrier of equal education and academic achievements. Although the results of the tests do vary and there is a score gap, the psychologists do not attribute this to stereotype threat. It appears to be important in the cases heeded by headteachers, teachers, policy makers, researchers and students. The findings changed the tendency of laying alleged blame on genetic and cultural factors, which includes the issue of whether African American value education and whether girls can do better in maths. Since stereotype badly influenced women even if the test did not suggest gender differences, psychologists claim that some people are sensitive towards the early mentioning of the stereotypes in the begging of a context.

The psychologists studied the way humans behave when subjected to negative stereotype about their race and gender belongings. They recorded drastic improvement in test scores that was demonstrated by the members of the groups that were negatively stereotyped. Achievement and joy at school can be boosted by understanding and attending psychological processes. This is to dilute the power of stereotype which destroys academic aspirations of the youth who because they were black, brown or female, were subjected to inferiority. 

Aronson is putting research to work in school where he is developing a practical method trying to reduce the achievement gap.

The research is of a immense significance because if the results can be used well, the stereotype would be eradicated. This stereotype has been of a negative impact for the community. This is because some of the youths with strong academic aspiration were killed by the stereotype. 

It forms a negative attitude to the people involved in it. In schools where there are different races this can be witnessed. Making young black boys and girls believe that they cannot compete intellectually with the white boys is killing their potential. Some of them are demoralized to the extent that they cannot perform better than they are believed. Some of the parents have this idea in their families. This is where they show the young girls that some tasks, however, no matter how easy they appear to be, can never be performed by girls. Most parents believe that girls should never be playing with electronics.

They say that it is exclusively male’s sphere of interest. However, this may be killing the potential of a young girl, who if she is given a chance, maybe become a respected electric engineer.

In some schools where there are representatives of the only one race such stereotype method can be applied. This is where they group the bright student together and the non-bright students together when taking group discussions and lab experiments. Not so bright students get negative attitudes towards themselves, as they know they can never match the intellectual level of the top performers. Teachers should mix the two sets of students in equal proportions. In doing this, they will help the students have a sense of belonging which can boost their morale. Parents should give their female child a chance to experiment the things which are considered to be of a boys’ sphere. In such a way they might make them to have a good career in their future.

This material was provided by Jaime Bradley who works at

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