Improving adolescents' standardized test performance

An intervention to reduce the effects of stereotype threat

Catherine Good, Joshua Aronson, Michael Inzlicht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Standardized tests continue to generate gender and race gaps in achievement despite decades of national attention. Research on "stereotype threat" (Steele & Aronson, 1995) suggests that these gaps may be partly due to stereotypes that impugn the math abilities of females and the intellectual abilities of Black, Hispanic, and low-income students. A field experiment was performed to test methods of helping female, minority, and low-income adolescents overcome the anxiety-inducing effects of stereotype threat and, consequently, improve their standardized test scores. Specifically, seventh-grade students in the experimental conditions were mentored by college students who encouraged them either to view intelligence as malleable or to attribute academic difficulties in the seventh grade to the novelty of the educational setting. Results showed that females in both experimental conditions earned significantly higher math standardized test scores than females in the control condition. Similarly, the students-who were largely minority and low-income adolescents-in the experimental conditions earned significantly higher reading standardized test scores than students in the control condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-662
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003

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stereotype
threat
Students
adolescent
Aptitude
low income
performance
student
minority
ability
educational setting
Intelligence
Hispanic Americans
Reading
intelligence
Anxiety
school grade
anxiety
experiment
gender

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Attributions
  • Beliefs about intelligence
  • Gender differences
  • Low-income students
  • Mathematics
  • Minority students
  • Reading
  • Standardized tests
  • Stereotype threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education

Cite this

Improving adolescents' standardized test performance : An intervention to reduce the effects of stereotype threat. / Good, Catherine; Aronson, Joshua; Inzlicht, Michael.

In: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 6, 12.2003, p. 645-662.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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