Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat is when a person finds him/herself in a predicament of identity. When in this situation, the performance could confirm a bad view of the group.  According to Steele, “This term captured the idea of a situational predicament as a contingency of their group identity, a real threat of judgment or treatment in the person’s environment that went beyond any limitations within.” (2010, p. 59-60).

Steele came upon this when trying to understand why some groups of people under-performed on tests.  Stereotype threat created the reality that not all classrooms or experiences are the same for everybody. Different people have different ways of interpreting experience and come with different goals and preoccupations. These impact the outcome of a test because even when we are unaware of the stereotype threat it can significantly affect our intellectual functioning. (Steele, 2010, p.61). The bottom line is our social identities shape who we are, what we do, and how well we do it. (Steele, 2010, p. 62).

Steele referenced several individuals who conducted research to see how we could combat stereotype threat in the classroom.  They looked at such things as studying in groups, the feedback people received, putting a value on diversity, and growth mindset. Making simple conscious changes in the classroom can have a lasting impact on minority students.  Carol Dweck’s work with growth mindset has been a focus in my classroom for the last couple of years.  It’s great to realize the work we do around a growth mindset will help with the achievement gaps for minority students.

Link to infographic:


“Empirically Validated Strategies to Reduce Stereotype Threat”.

“Reducing Stereotype Threat.”

Steele, Claude. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

3 thoughts on “Stereotype Threat”

  1. Erin,
    I think your discussion post is great and I also really enjoyed your infographic. I like that you pinpointed the certain aspects of what you believe can help eliminate the stereotype threat. I noticed that many of us included growth mindset as something that can help eliminate the stereotype threat. I believe this is so important because if we teach students that their knowledge is not fixed and is not based on their color, gender, ethnicity, etc, then we can truly build our students self esteem and help erase this threat. I also think a strong community can help erase this as well. If students all care and believe in one another, that can help eliminate the threat as well. When students all feel like they belong they are more likely to take risks and not be afraid to try and even to fail!


  2. Hi Erin,

    I enjoyed reading your post and I think you did an excellent job summarizing the key points about stereotype threat and supporting it concisely from our readings. I think it is great that you already have growth mindset established in your school. Do you use growth mindset strategies frequently, or just for each marking period? I also think you did an excellent job with your infographic!

    Nice work,


    1. Omar,
      Several teachers in my building use Classdojo as a management tool. This site have several videos to help students learn the concept of a growth mindset. What teachers use in my school is up to the individual; so, it really varies from grade level to grade level and teacher to teacher.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s