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Dwayne Pare

STEREOTYPE THREAT CHAPTER 12: SOCIAL CLASS AND TEST PERFORMANCE  Scholastic assessment test scores are strongly related to parental annual income  The very rich get the best scores and the poor get the lowest  Stereotypes that portray the poor as not intelligent impact test achievement  Poor people are victims of a contemptuous stereotypes that portray them as unintelligent and lazy  Stereotype threat is the psychological manifestation of a symbolic violence embedded in evaluate settings  Future research should investigate how idealogy (stereotypes), institutional practices (evaluative settings) and behavior (performance) work together to recycle power and privilege into individual differences in intellectual merit  People who are better off have higher IQs than do the poor  Binet developed first IQ test in 1905 and discovered that children from affluent neighbourhoods had a superior intelligence than their peers living in the poor suburbs of Paris o Repeatedly observed, not controversial  Relationship between SES and SAT scores are illustrative  College board claimed that SAT measures academic skills and not intelligence  Research indicates that SAT in accordance with the spirit of its inventor still measures “IQ” or intelligence to a large extent  Graph shows 10-70 pts in SAT scores with each extra $20 000 in parental annual income  Student’s score can be guesses based on the car his or her parents drive  Volvo effect  Some stress that IQ is the cause of social class  Individual and group differences in IQ are a matter of heredity  Rich kids have higher IQs b/c they inherit smart genes from smarter parents  Some advocate that IQ is the conseuqnece rather than the cause of social class  Poor kids have a lower IQ b/c they grow up in environments characterized by strong material deprivation and substandard schooling which prevents the normal development of their cognitive abilities  The opposition of these 2 camps has focused most of the attention on the debate about the social class gap in intelligence  Some have argued that test scores are not a valid reflection of individual endowmend in intelligence  Relationship between social class and IQ may be more informative of the property of the test itself than of the attributes of the test takes  Test items can be biased in their content and being able to identify the Milo’s Venus statue is more indicative of a child’s familiarity with the white upper middle class culture than of her intelligence  IQ would predict outcomes not b/c it identifies cognitive ability but b/c it measures acculturation with white middle class values which are fundamental to succeed in a white middle class society  Removing content bias shouldn’t only offer a more valid measure of competency, it could also eliminate the gap b/w rich and poor  Gap in test scores could reflect situational impact of social stereotypes that target people from low SES backgrounds  Testing situations are designed to be neutral  Their function is to locate variations in performance only at the individual level  They constitute a perfect implementation of kelley’s covariation principle for dispositional attribution: sameness of circumstances – test situation is same for all test takers and sameness fof stimuli – test is same for all and not biased against certain groups  Literature reveals that a standard testing situation is saturated with undermining and enhancing ideologies that selectively affect performance of the poor and rich and contribute to the test score gap STEREOTYPES ABOUT SOCIAL CLASS  Poverty is a pervasive problem in industrialized countries  2008 US – 39.8 million people lived below the federal poverty level  Literature on prejudice and discrimination against the poor remains marginal  Most of the research on the perception of social class had focused almost exclusively on the kind of attributions people make to explain why some are poor  American dream is still alive: individuals believe that social status is earned and that people are responsible for their social standing in society  Research on the attitudes toward the poor is scarce but available evidence indicates that people expect those who are poor to have lower intellectual ability  Stereotypes about the poor were negative  People from low SES groups were portrayed as being unintelligent, uneducated, unmotivated and irresponsible  Out of 39 personality traits used to describe the groups, 38 yielded differences unfavourable to the working class  Poor form 1 of the few social groups targeted by a clearly negative (nonambivalent) stereotype  They are disliked and disrespected and this attitude is widely spread across cultures and among educated liberals  The poor are victims of a contemptuous prejudice that portrays them as unintelligent and lazy STEREOTYPE THREAT AND SOCIAL CLASS  In standard testing situations, stereotypes of intellectual inferiority can affect intellectual achievement  Research on stereotype threat and social class is underdeveloped  First study was in france  Asked undergrads to take a difficult test adapted from the verbal section of the GRE  Class was determined by parental occupation and education  Students are low SES if parents didn’t finish high school and were unskilled workers  Students of high SES had parents who had college degrees and held professional occupations  Asked half of Ps to indicate level of their parents’ education  This salience manipulation had no impact on intellectual achievement  When Ps informed that test was a measure of their cognitive ability, students from low SES backgrounds performed lower than their high SES peers  When test introduced as a simple lab exercise, nondiagnostic of ability, low SES performed as well as others  High SES benefited from diagnostic condition – lift effect  Social class stereotype threat effect was a “French” effect b/c of the classist structure of the French society  Implicit assumption was that this finding would not be observed in the US where stereotypes about social class are less prevalent  Had white and non white college students take difficult math and verbal tests (SATs)  Ps were from lower, middle or upper classes  ½ Ps, test was framed to minimize stereotype threat – study of cognitive processes underlying performance  Other half informed that they were about to take a valid measure of math and verbal abilities to investigate the reasons for the underachievement of the poor in vollege  Study demonstrated a stereotype threat effect related to social class on verbal and math performance  Students of lower income performed worse on the task when it was presented as a valid test of their abilities than they did when it was characterized in a nonthreatening way  Middle class students unaffected by manipulation  upper class college students formed better under the diagnostic donation than the did under the nondiagnostic  mere salience of SES was enough to disrupt performance among poor when task was nondiagnostic suggesting that there might be some cultural differences (france vs us) about the situational prevalence of class stereotypes in educational contexts  lower income Ps exposure to stereotype threat report higher test anxiety, lower confidence in their ability to perform and lower identification with academic domains  established generalizability across several tasks from verbal, math, English gre to psychometric tests  stereotype threat related to social class affects performance on nonverbal IQ tests that were specially developed to limit language bias in psychometric assessment  raven’s progressive matrices test is consideres as one of the purest measures of intelligence  achievement on such tests is sensitive to stereotype threat that targets the poor  children from a low SES performed worse on Raven’s test when it was introduced using the standard instructions rather than when it was described as a game o found in children 6 yrs old and 7-9 means that stereotype threat can affect achievement student’s life early on INTERSECTIONALITY AND STEREOTYPE THREAT  research has cleverly demonstrated that even dominant groups can experience stereotype threat, social settings are framed in a way that most of the groups experiencing this predicament are from the bottom of the social hierarchy o blacks, latinos, poor, women  groups targeted by stereotype of lower intelligence  existence of stereotype threat has been established by focusing on separate identities defined in terms of race, gender or class o limiting, b/c it ignores the fact that individuals usually belong to several categories that overlap and depend on one another  intersectionality initially developed by feminist and critical race theorists refers to the reality that groups hold multiple statuses in society  theoretically neglected, intersectionality may explain certain findings in stereotype threat literation like the fact that the delibitating effect of stereotype threat occurs for only certain combinations of identities  stereotype threat disrupted women’s math performance but only for mesican American females not white women double minority effect  how age stereotypes that depict the elderly as having poor memory affects recall performance  older Ps performed less well when a memory test was characterized as revealing age differences (stereotype condition) than when it was described as a test showing no age differences (counter stereotype condition) or when no reference to the stereotype was made (standard condition)  elderly with higher education more than a 4 yr college degree were the only ones showing this standard stereotype threat effect  Ps with low education showed memory deficit in both stereotype and counterstereotype conditions as compared to the standard condition  Education may be a more important factor than age with regard to susceptibility and resilience to memory aging stereotypes  Cumulative lack of power and control may make one more siensitive to undermining effect of stereotypes in the same way that accumulation of power may make one more sensitive to enhancing effect of stereotypes  One could predict that some AAs may experience stereotype threat related to race at a lower level of situational threat when they also happen to be poor and female  A systemic consideration of intersectionality would lead researchers to do 3 things: o Question the definition of their categories ( who are the elderly in the sample, what gender, race, class?) o Examine the role played by inequality (power and resources symmetry) o Identify commonalities between groups (most groups experiencing stereotype trheat have lower status and are excluded from the educational system whereas those experiencing stereotype lift are the beneficiaries of it)  This approach advocates conceptualizing identity not as a personal variable but more as a social process involing groups’ position in the social structure  Such a shift may have heuristic value  Experimentally assignmed Ps to a low or high status position  Status was randomly determined by left or right handedness which was predicted to be positively or negatively related to the ability required for an upcoming taks  Ps informed that they would be assigned to diff occupations and pay level based on their status and aptitude score  Assignment rules were clearly favourable for high achieving high status individuals  Ps then took Raven Progressive Matrices test  Results from three studies revealed that Ps scores were influenced by their status  Ps with higher status (expectation of higher ability and advantaged by the system) obtained a higher IQ (120, exp 2) than did those who were randomly assigned to a low status (who had a reputation of low ability and disadvantaged by the system IQ=112)  Creating a social hierarchy with diff status and privilege was enough to induce stereotype threat effects on IQ scores  Reasons why stereotype threat effects are limited to or magnified by certain combos of identities (ethnicity and gender, age and class) needs further attention  Unlikely to involve inclusion of more demographic variables  Research on intersectionality proposes a shift in our understanding of the concept of social cateogies and identities  Instead of informing about the individuals within the groups, social categories define the structural relations that shape individual, social and institutional practices POLICY BOX  Persistence of achievement gap between rich and poor constitutes one of the biggest challenges for a democratic society committed to equal opportunity  Education serves function of selecting individuals based on their sole merit, but research on stereotype threat and social class suggests that implementation of equality in educational settings is problematic  Testing situations are considered to be neutral, but are differently experienced by rich and poor  Contribute to class gap in test scores  Test scores should be considered less an indicator of individual cognitive potential but more as the by product of educational and social situations  Power of educational situations on performance is more important than usually thought  Subtle situational changes, minimizing the belief that level of achievement reflects intellectual value generate positive educational outcomes in terms of performance, motivation and sense of belonging o Teachers can control this  Questions our commitment to meritocracy b’c test scores measure something other than individual merit  Using them to determine who gets ahead in education becomes problematic  Process driving these effects is beyond level of classroom or school  No way should this be a reason for inaction, we should avoid “educationalizing” social problems, looking to classroom for the key to n issue that’s deeply rooted in the wider society FROM STEREOTYPE THREAT TO SYMBOLIC VIOLENCE  Early on, stereotype threat was defined as a threat in the air, something in the situation not within the individual  Stereotype threat is not a motivational trait of stigmatized individuals, it’s a predicament brought into the testing situation by the stereotyoe  It can be alleviated with subtle situational changes like altering the presentation fo a test  Groups that enjoy high st
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