Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 2009 Issue »

    The Effects of Stereotype Threat on Standardized Mathematics Test Performance and Cognitive Processing

    Keena Arbuthnot
    Although research has extensively documented sources for differential item functioning and stereotype threat—especially among women and black college students—little is known about group differences in test-taking strategies among black adolescent students. In this article, Arbuthnot presents findings from two studies that seek to explore how stereotype threat affects standardized test performance in mathematics among black eighth-grade students. The author contextualizes the studies in a discussion of prior research and presents findings from an analysis of black students’ test performances on standardized mathematics exam questions that do and do not include differential item functioning. Arbuthnot complements this work by exploring the strategies test-takers use to process test items. Findings from the two studies suggest that stereotype threat may have a negative impact on black adolescent students’ test-taking strategies and achievement on mathematics standardized tests. The author concludes the article by posing implications for new test development that takes into consideration the potential impact of stereotype threat.

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    Keena Arbuthnot is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Theory, Policy, and Practice at Louisiana State University. Her work has appeared in such journals as Educational Researcher and the Journal of Urban Education. She has worked as a visiting scholar at Educational Testing Services and has been a consultant to the Supreme Education Council of Qatar. Prior to working as an assistant professor, Keena worked as a lecturer on education and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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    Fall 2009 Issue


    Suspending Damage
    A Letter to Communities
    Eve Tuck
    “They’re in My Culture, They Speak the Same Way”
    African American Language in Multiethnic High Schools
    Django Paris
    The Effects of Stereotype Threat on Standardized Mathematics Test Performance and Cognitive Processing
    Keena Arbuthnot
    High School Research and Critical Literacy
    Social Studies With and Despite Wikipedia
    Houman Harouni
    Discourse, Narrative, and National Identity
    The Case of France
    Kyle A. Greenwalt

    Book Notes

    My Most Excellent Year
    Steven Kluger

    Malcolm Gladwell

    Muslim American Youth
    Selcuk R. Sirin and Michelle Fine

    Charles R. Smith Jr.

    Teach Freedom
    Charles Payne and Carol Sills Strickland

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