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Stereotype Threat, Inquiring About Test Takers' Race and Gender, and Performance on Low-Stakes Tests in a Large-Scale Assessment ELS

Stricker, Lawrence J.; Rock, Donald A.; Bridgeman, Brent
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Report Number:
ETS Research Report
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Subject/Key Words:
Stereotype Threat, Test Takers, Race, Gender, Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), Low Stakes Testing, Large-Scale Assessment, Mathematics Tests, Reading Tests, Questionnaires


This study explores stereotype threat on low-stakes tests used in a large-scale assessment, math and reading tests in the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS). Issues identified in laboratory research (though not observed in studies of high-stakes tests) were assessed: whether inquiring about their race and gender is related to the performance of Black and female test takers and, secondarily, whether this association is greater for test takers most identified with math and reading. After high school sophomores completed a questionnaire that included inquiries about their race and gender, only one change in test performance was consistent with expectations from stereotype-threat theory: Black test takers' math scores decreased. Their reading scores and young women's math scores did not decrease, and identification with math and reading did not moderate score decreases for Black test takers or women.

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