Thursday, March 26, 2009

Standardized Testing and Exclusion ?

In light of today's reading, with respect to community colleges,Jaschik discuses the implications of eradicating the SAT and ACT or in the least in making it optional. He suggests that students from low income, African American and Latino/Latina backgrounds would see their admission rates jump under such conditions. Last year Wake Forest University, a "good school" in North Carolina made the SAT option only.


NPR's "News & Notes" ran a Report on the decreasing digital divide. More importantly it discussed the ways in which "News & Notes" served as an information resource for African American issues. The show used a rather novel approach using black bloggers and social networking sites to not only expand information dissemination but also elicit listener/ viewer participation. Last week the show was canceled which will no doubt leave an information void for listeners.


  1. Brenton, great links. This brings up the concept of "stereotype threat." Here's more information, and a citation, for those interested:

    Steele, Claude M. 1,3; Aronson, Joshua 2,4
    (1)Department of Psychology, Stanford University

    (2)School of Education, University of Texas, Austin.

    Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test Performance of African Americans.

    Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. 69(5):797-811, November 1995.

    Stereotype threat is being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's group. Studies 1 and 2 varied the stereotype vulnerability of Black participants taking a difficult verbal test by varying whether or not their performance was ostensibly diagnostic of ability, and thus, whether or not they were at risk of fulfilling the racial stereotype about their intellectual ability. Reflecting the pressure of this vulnerability, Blacks underperformed in relation to Whites in the ability-diagnostic condition but not in the nondiagnostic condition (with Scholastic Aptitude Tests controlled). Study 3 validated that ability-diagnosticity cognitively activated the racial stereotype in these participants and motivated them not to conform to it, or to be judged by it. Study 4 showed that mere salience of the stereotype could impair Blacks' performance even when the test was not ability diagnostic. The role of stereotype vulnerability in the standardized test performance of ability-stigmatized groups is discussed.

  2. Anonymous3:43 PM

    If anyone is interested in reading more about stereotype threat, I have a bunch of articles on the subject. I can send out a list of citations or the full-text/pdfs.

  3. Shauna: I would not mind a few pdf's as this sounds very interesting. Also it would be good background material.