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Little Things Can Mean A Lot

Looking through the September 1 Science Magazine I came across an article called "Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention"

While the title isn't very exciting, the results are. Researchers assigned seventh graders to two groups. Group A selected values that were important to them and wrote a paragraph about why the values were important to them. Group B selected values that were NOT important to them and wrote a paragraph as to why those values might be important to others. Being in group A or in group B had no impact on white students' achievement. But did it ever have an impact on African American students' achievement. Not only did African American students in group A significantly improve their grades compared to African American students in group B, they reduced the racial achievement gap by about 40%! The authors say "These results suggest that the racial achievement gap, a major social concern in the United States, could be ameliorated by the use of timely and targeted social-psychological interventions." We at FairerScience agree and are very excited about this new evidence that the "stereotype threat" that effects many girls in mathematics and many African Americans in a variety of academic areas can be overcome.

PS For those readers who are researchers, it was a double blind study with random assignment.