Racial and gender stereotypes can have a negative impact on students performance. People are very sensitive about the messages they receive about themselves. Something as simple as checking off ones race or gender before a test can threaten a person?s performance. Psychological interventions can help combat stereotypes and reduce the negative outcomes on performance. For example, one intervention asked a group of African American students to choose from a list of values, those which they felt were most important. These students were then asked to write a short paragraph justifying why they felt these values were meaningful to them. This exercise reduced the achievement gap between this group and their white American peers, by 40%.
Another Intervention, asked females to read passages about woman and mathematics. One group read that there are fixed gender differences in mathematical ability while others read that ability can be modified by experience. Those in the experimental group, who read that mathematical ability is changeable, had raised math?s scores, by 50%.
These simple interventions can have a huge impact upon student?s performance. To read an article discussing these two experiements click here