Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stereotype Threat and Social Costs of Academic Achievement


Researchers from the University of Colorado recently demonstrated that a simple intervention, a 15 minute writing exercise, essentially "closed" the gender achievement gap on a physics assessment. I read about this simple and elegant study demonstrating the power of stereotype threat on test scores on the same day I read Daniel Willingham's excellent summary of "The Social Costs of Academic Achievement"

This might be a tough (but important?) topic to discuss with students in a psychology class, but maybe its more important that we talk about it with our colleagues. We all read and hear about how the importance of "closing the achievement gaps" between ethnicities. How much of these "gaps" can be accounted for by a combination of stereotype threat and the social cost of “acting white” as described by Willingham?

And, more importantly, what can we do about it?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

1 comment:

Rob Mc said...

An update: Willingham just wrote about the stereotype threat research too:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/achievement-gap/willingham-close-to-a-magic-bu.html?wprss=answer-sheet