Stereotype threat and assessment in schools
There is abundant evidence that demonstrates that individuals’ intellectual performance is undermined in situations that remind them that they are stereotyped which is causing them to underperform (Schmader, 2010). This phenomenon has been identified as stereotype threat (ST). Research shows that students from disadvantaged minority groups experience poorer achievement outcomes than students who are provided with equal academic opportunities. In education, it is important to understand how ST affects the performance of stereotyped students (Taylor & Walton, 2011). Reminders of negative stereotypes create questions of self-perception and uncertainty about one’s abilities. This process of suppressing negative thoughts and feelings manifest a fear of confirming the stereotype, which impairs cognitive ability and causes anxiety that affects performance during assessments. Fortunately, evidence suggests that value affirmation can help eliminate the negative effects of ST on assessment and learning (Taylor & Walton, 2011). However, more evidence on how to teach students to feel more competent at school is needed.
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