Title

Analysis of the Stereotype Threat in Sixth Grade Students' Performance on a Math Test

Author(s)

Sonali Parmar

School Name

Heathwood Hall Episcopal School

Grade Level

11th Grade

Presentation Topic

Psychology and Sociology

Presentation Type

Non-Mentored

Abstract

Since 1972, there has been an ongoing trend in which males have outperformed females on the math section of the SAT, although females perform just as well, if not better than males in the classroom. Many attribute females’ lower performance on the SAT to a phenomenon known as the stereotype threat, which is defined as “being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s group” (Steele and Aronson, 1995). Much research involving the stereotype threat has focused on male and female high school or college-aged students. Little research, however, has been conducted using younger students to determine whether younger males and females are also affected by societal stereotypes. The purpose of this research is to determine the effects of the stereotype threat on sixth grade males’ and females’ performance on a math test. Three groups of sixth-grade students, both male and female, were given two math tests. Group 1 was told that the first test had previously not shown gender differences, and the second test had shown gender differences. Group 2 was told the opposite: the first test had shown gender differences and the second test had not. Lastly, Group 3, the control group, was not given any statements and was instructed to simply take the test. While there were many trends indicating lower test performance for both males and females due to the stereotype threat, these trends were not statistically significant.

Start Date

4-11-2015 9:30 AM

End Date

4-11-2015 9:45 AM

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 9:30 AM Apr 11th, 9:45 AM

Analysis of the Stereotype Threat in Sixth Grade Students' Performance on a Math Test

Since 1972, there has been an ongoing trend in which males have outperformed females on the math section of the SAT, although females perform just as well, if not better than males in the classroom. Many attribute females’ lower performance on the SAT to a phenomenon known as the stereotype threat, which is defined as “being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s group” (Steele and Aronson, 1995). Much research involving the stereotype threat has focused on male and female high school or college-aged students. Little research, however, has been conducted using younger students to determine whether younger males and females are also affected by societal stereotypes. The purpose of this research is to determine the effects of the stereotype threat on sixth grade males’ and females’ performance on a math test. Three groups of sixth-grade students, both male and female, were given two math tests. Group 1 was told that the first test had previously not shown gender differences, and the second test had shown gender differences. Group 2 was told the opposite: the first test had shown gender differences and the second test had not. Lastly, Group 3, the control group, was not given any statements and was instructed to simply take the test. While there were many trends indicating lower test performance for both males and females due to the stereotype threat, these trends were not statistically significant.