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Inquiring About Examinees' Ethnicity and Sex: Effects on AP Calculus AB Examination Performance AP

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Advanced Placement Examinations, Calculus, Blacks, Racial Bias, Ethnicity, Sex, Mathematics Tests


Steele and Aronson (1995) found that the performance of African-American subjects on test items portrayed as a problem-solving task, in a laboratory experiment, was adversely affected when they were asked about their ethnicity. This outcome was attributed to "stereotype threat": performance was disrupted by the subjects' concerns about fulfilling the negative stereotype concerning African Americans' intellectual ability. Extending that research, this field experiment evaluated the effects of inquiring about ethnicity and sex on the performance of examinees taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB Examination in an actual test administration. With minor exception, this inquiry had no statistically and practically significant effects on the test performance of African-American, female, or other subgroups of examinees.

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