Categories

Journal Article: Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention

Categories

Academic Achievement, Intervention, Psychological Stress, Self, Concept, Stereotyped Attitudes, Blacks, Minority Groups, Performance, Social Stress

Authors

Cohen, Geoffrey L.; Garcia, Julio; Apfel, Nancy; Master, Allison

Published

2006, Sep

Abstract

Two randomized field experiments tested a social-psychological intervention designed to improve minority student performance and increase our understanding of how psychological threat mediates performance in chronically evaluative real-world environments. We expected that the risk of confirming a negative stereotype aimed at one's group could undermine academic performance in minority students by elevating their level of psychological threat. We tested whether such psychological threat could be lessened by having students reaffirm their sense of personal adequacy or "self-integrity." The intervention, a brief in-class writing assignment, significantly improved the grades of African American students and reduced the racial achievement gap by 40%. These results suggest that the racial achievement gap, a major social concern in the United States, could be ameliorated by the use of timely and targeted social-psychological interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA ) (journal abstract)

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