Combating Stereotype Threats

     The Teaching Center (2019) defines stereotype threat in its article Reducing Stereotype Threats as, “a phenomenon in which a person’s concern about confirming a negative stereotype can lead that person to underperform on challenging assessment or test” (p.1). This means that there is a preconception that has been set forth about certain groups or individuals. Because of this preconception, individuals are at risk of internalizing this risk, very similar to making the preconception a self-fulfilling prophecy. This very likely will have an affect an individual’s performance and abilities.

            While thinking about stereotype threat and their classroom, an educators need to take into consideration how to reduce the stereotype threat. Vivaldi (2010) conducted a study that found, “stereotyped students consistently got better subsequent grades than non-stereotyped students with the same prior test scores or grades” (p. 187).  Taking this into consideration, educators need to be able to use strategies to eliminate or limit the effects of stereotype threats.  

            One way in which educators can reduce stereotype threats in the classroom is by incorporating assessments that are not culturally biased. Thirty seconds into her video, Hurst (2018) describes a culturally biased test as, “a test that yields clear and systematic differences among the results of the test-takers. Typically, test biases are based on group membership of the test-takers, such as gender, race and ethnicity.” With this being said, educators need to make sure that they are doing the best they can to reduce culturally biased assessments (or any other type of stereotype threat) to ensure that all of their students have equal educational and assessment opportunities. 


Hurst, Melissa. (2003-2010). Testing bias, cultural bias, & language differences in assessment. Retrieved at

Steele, C. M. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: how stereotypes affect us and what we can do. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

The Teaching Center (2016). Reducing stereotype threat. Retrieved from

4 thoughts on “Combating Stereotype Threats”

  1. Miranda,
    I enjoyed the infographic you created. I liked the visual of the roadmap and found what you included to be important as well.
    I like in your post how you talk about teachers creating unbiased assessments. Before taking this class, I don’t think that was at the forefront of my thinking when developing test questions. I also wonder about how difficult this must be when creating standardized testing. I remember reading about test results years ago and how differently students scored on a passage about the country. Those students who were familiar with rural living scored significantly better on the assessment than city students. A few years ago when they were working on rewriting test questions with teacher involvement I went to Albany and wrote test questions. This topic wasn’t even discussed prior to us creating questions. What a difference it would have made.
    Thank you for your thoughts this week.


  2. Hello Miranda,

    I really liked the infographic you created. It was very creative and descriptive. The quote from Vivaldi (2010) that you mentioned it very interesting. The fact that stereotypes directly affect students and their performance. As you mentioned, this can not go unnoticed by educators. I truly believe that students are unable to succeed if their basic needs are not met. This includes feeling comfortable in their school and individual classrooms. It is important that teachers take this into consideration when making choices that affect their students. This ranges from creating assignments as you mentioned, as well as promoting and overall inclusive environment.

    I enjoyed reading your post!

    Jessica Parker


  3. Hi Miranda,

    I loved your infographic you created! The road template and road stops would a be a great way to introduce this topic to older students or other educators! Nice Job!
    I agreed with the part of your post where you highlight bias in assessments and testing. I think this is something I as a white student never realized while I was in my schooling. Looking back now and looking at current assessments through the lens of an educator I see the huge stereotypes and bias present in things such as state mandated tests. It is our job, as you said, as educators to work to put an end to this practice.

    Thanks for sharing!
    – Aimee


  4. Erin,
    I thought your infographic was planned out perfectly and easy to follow along with. Nice job! Thank you for your post this week. Like you said it is important for teachers to use culturally diverse assessments to help students overall performance improve. Again I loved the way you broke down the infographic. Great work !


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