Experimental Effects of “Achievement Gap” News Reporting on Viewers’ Racial Stereotypes, Inequality Explanations, and Inequality Prioritization

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25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The “achievement gap” has long dominated mainstream conversations about race and education. Some scholars warn that the discourse around racial gaps perpetuates stereotypes and promotes the adoption of deficit-based explanations that fail to appreciate the role of structural inequities. I investigate through three randomized experiments. Results indicate that a TV news story about racial achievement gaps (vs. a control or counterstereotypical video) led viewers to express more exaggerated stereotypes of Black Americans as lacking education (Study 1 effect size =.30 SD; Study 2 effect size =.38 SD) and may have increased viewers’ implicit stereotyping of Black students as less competent than White students (Study 1 effect size =.22 SD; Study 2 effect size =.12 SD, ns). The video did not affect viewers’ explicit competence-related racial stereotyping, the explanations they gave for achievement inequalities, or their prioritization of ending achievement inequalities. After 2 weeks, the effect on stereotype exaggeration faded. Future research should probe how we can most productively frame educational inequality by race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-492
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume49
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 AERA.

Keywords

  • academic expectations
  • achievement
  • achievement gap
  • disparities
  • educational equity
  • equity
  • experimental design
  • implicit stereotypes
  • opportunity gap
  • race
  • stereotyping

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