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Journal Article: Stereotype Threat and the Social and Scientific Contexts of the Race Achievement Gap

Journal Article » Stereotype Threat and the Social and Scientific Contexts of the Race Achievement Gap


Cognitive Assessment, Racial and Ethnic Differences, Stereotyped, Attitudes, Test Interpretation, Test Scores, Blacks, College, Entrance Examination Board Scholastic Aptitude Test, Students, Whites


Cohen, Geoffrey L.; Sherman, David K.


2005, Apr


Comments on an article by Paul Sackett, Chaitra Hardison and Michael Cullen entitled On Interpreting Stereotype Threat as Accounting for African American-White Differences on Cognitive Tests (see record 2004-10043-001). In their article, Sackett, Hardison, and Cullen (see record 2000-16592-021) critiqued misrepresentations of the original stereotype threat findings presented by Steele and Aronson. They criticized representations of the research that suggest that stereotype threat explains all the racial achievement gap in academic performance when, in fact, the original studies statistically equated the ability of Black students and White students by using SAT scores as a covariate. As Sackett et al. acknowledged, Steele and Aronson did not claim that stereotype threat explains all the racial achievement gap, though as they suggested in their critique, it may have been a claim made implicitly and even explicitly in some media and textbook coverage of the work. The authors of this comment wish to make three points that Sackett and colleagues did not make. These points highlight the social and scientific contexts in which Sackett et al.'s critical commentary, and stereotype threat research in general, can be interpreted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA )