The Effects of Stereotype Threat on Test Performance of Male and Female College Students
Williams, Keith B., College Student Journal
Past research suggests that awareness of negative stereotypes about the intellectual inferiority of one's "in-group" can undermine performance on academic tasks, especially among subjects who are strongly identified with the academic domain or highly invested in the academic task. This study included 72 students (n = 42 women, n = 30 men) and examined the effects of stereotype threat on test scores of students. It was hypothesized that students exposed to stereotypes predicting underperformance on the Psychology Major Test for their genders would score lower than students not exposed to these negative stereotypes. A 2 (gender) X 2 (stereotype threat condition) analysis of variance yielded significant interaction effects indicating that men in stereotype threat conditions outscored men in non-stereotype threat conditions. Given that most students experienced low domain identification with males being the least domain identified, the negative effects of stereotype threat were not observed.
When academic achievement has been measured by high-stakes standardized tests, factors including grade point average, class rank, test preparation, test-taking strategies and academic preparedness have been discussed as possible predictors of individual performance on these tests. The issue of test bias has also been discussed as a possible predictor of differential group performance on standardized test scores, especially in instances where background characteristics have been controlled for and group differences in scores have persisted along racial and gender lines (Suzuki, Ponterotto, & Meller, 2000). Further insight into the persistence of group differences in standardized test performance can be gained from a review of stereotype threat studies. These studies have investigated predictors of underperformance for stigmatized groups and found that testing situations, by becoming more anxiety provoking for certain students based on their race, class, and gender, could impede performance (Aronson & Salinas, 1997; Steele, 1997; Aronson, Lustina, Good, Keough, Brown, & Steele, 1999; Inzlicht & Ben-Zeev, 2000; Leyens, Desert, Croizet, and …
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Publication information: Article title: The Effects of Stereotype Threat on Test Performance of Male and Female College Students. Contributors: Williams, Keith B. - Author. Journal title: College Student Journal. Volume: 40. Issue: 3 Publication date: September 2006. Page number: 679+. © 2009 Project Innovation (Alabama). COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
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