The effects of stereotypes on the achievement gap: Reexamining the academic performance of African American high school students

Following the procedures of Kellow and Jones (2005), this experiment examined stereotype threat effects among 9th-grade African-American and White students who participated in a group testing session on "mathematical reasoning." Students completed the APR Spatial Ability Test that had been described either as predictive of performance on standardized tests in mathematics (stereotype threat for Blacks) or where students had been reassured that the test was unbiased and culturally fair (no stereotype threat). In addition, students also reported their expectations of success before taking the test and the strength of both approach and avoidance goals during test taking. Results showed that African-American students had lower performance expectations in the stereotype threat condition than in the control condition, but goal strength did not vary between conditions. Somewhat surprisingly, performance was equivalent for African-Americans in the two conditions. Performance of white students, however, was superior in the stereotype threat condition, suggesting stereotype lift in the presence of negative stereotypes for outgroup members. These results show that stereotype threat can reduce performance expectations in a group under stereotype threat.

Kellow, T. J., & Jones, B. D. (2007). The effects of stereotypes on the achievement gap: Reexamining the academic performance of African American high school students. Journal of Black Psychology, 34, 94-120.

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