Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Gifted children--Education--Iowa--Waterloo; Minority students--Iowa--Waterloo; Gifted children--Education; Minority students; Stereotypes (Social psychology); Iowa--Waterloo; Academic theses


Stereotype threat is a social psychological phenomenon that has been demonstrated to negatively affect performance of individuals who are members of non-Asian ethnic minority groups in terms of academic achievement. Although these effects have been documented in adults, very few studies have examined stereotype threat in K-12 students. Further, it is not clear whether stereotype threat could negatively impact students' performance on standardized tests, such as those used for screening for gifted programs. The purpose of this study was to examine whether stereotype threat could be reduced in a sample of Caucasian and African-American middle-school students who were taking a test similar to those standardized tests employed in gifted screening. Forty-one students were assigned to either an enhanced or control condition and were given two authentic tasks. The enhanced group received effort-focused instructions and the control group received the original test instructions. The effort-focused instructions were designed to reduce the effects of stereotype threat on students' test performance. An analysis of variance with group and race as the independent variables did not reveal any significant effects on students' mathematics scores, and a second ANOVA on verbal scores also failed to show significant results. Significant findings did not emerge in subsequent ANOVAs on just the low and average achieving students on both their mathematics and verbal scores. Implications of the findings for the role of stereotype threat in gifted screening programs are discussed, as well as directions for future research.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Elana Joram


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (65 pages)



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