Simple interventions bridge the achievement gap between Latino and white students, Stanford researcher finds | Community Village Daily | Scoop.it

"...a simple intervention made with middle school Latino American students reduced the achievement gap significantly. What's more, the positive effect persisted over time.

The matter comes down to overcoming the negative effects of "stereotype threat," a phenomenon that researchers have identified and documented over the last two decades. What they have found – in numerous studies – is that the stress and uncertain sense of belonging that can stem from being a member of a negatively stereotyped group undermines academic performance of minority students as compared with white students."
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"A second study looked at whether affirmation interventions could lessen the persistent threat to Latino Americans' identity caused by the overt or subtle presence of racial and ethnic stereotypes and prejudices."
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"Latino students who had participated in the affirmation exercises were less likely to see daily stress and adversity as threatening to their identity and sense of belonging in school."
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"...tasks provide reassurance about who they are..."
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As to why the interventions affected minorities but not white students, Cohen said, "Latino Americans are under a more consistent and chronic sense of psychological threat in the educational setting than their white counterparts on average. They constantly face negative stereotypes about their ability to succeed, so they are the ones to benefit the most from affirmations that help them to maintain a positive self-image."
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"reframe adversity and challenges as temporary phenomena rather than looming signs that they somehow don't belong"
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"underperformance is frequently not a function of individual inadequacy, but rather systemic failure"
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"A threatening environment can make smart kids less likely to show what they know"