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teachers' guide: secrets of the sat


Enhanced video clip "How do stereotypes affect SAT performance?"
(Click to watch clip)
In cue 35:38, narrator: "At Stanford University, psychology professor Claude Steele has spent several years investigating the large score gap between whites and blacks." Out cue 39:23, Steele: "We're thinking about this thing in the wrong way-as some objective, uncontaminated measure of academic merit. It is not that."

The large black-white test score gap is explored in this video clip. Psychology professor Claude Steele of Stanford University talks about his research that may partly explain this disparity. His studies focus on the way members of different groups lose confidence in their abilities under the high pressure setting of test taking, an effect he calls "stereotype threat."

Discussion questions:

  1. How do you feel about Professor Steele's work?
  2. What do you think the expectations are for your stereotyped group image (i.e., race, gender, and class)?
  3. How does stereotyped group image affect your self-confidence? Your ability to succeed?
  4. Ask students to think of an example when they thought they wouldn't do as well as someone else because of their race, gender, class, etc. Ask those who feel comfortable sharing with the group how that made them feel.
See Handout "Fact Sheet on the SAT, Race, and College Admissions"
for more on this topic. (download handouts in MS Word format - 153K)
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