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 https://study.com/academy/lesson/testing-bias-cultural-bias-language-differences-in-assessments.html#/lesson
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 https://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/resources/inclusive-teaching-learning/reducing-stereotype-threat/