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

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 (versus a control or counter-stereotypical video) led viewers to express more exaggerated stereotypes of Black Americans as lacking education (study 1: ES=.30 SD; study 2: ES=.38 SD) and may have increased viewers’ implicit stereotyping of Black students as less competent than White students (study 1: ES=.22 SD; study 2: ES=.12 SD, n.s.).  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 two weeks, the effect on stereotype exaggeration faded.  Future research should probe how we can most productively frame educational inequality by race.

Keywords
stereotyping, implicit stereotypes, academic expectations, achievement gap, opportunity gap, educational equity
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/075t-ed79

This EdWorkingPaper is published in:

Quinn, D.M. (Forthcoming). Experimental Effects of “Achievement Gap” News Reporting on Viewers’ Racial Stereotypes, Inequality Explanations, and Inequality Prioritization. Educational Researcher.

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Quinn, David M.. (). Experimental Effects of “Achievement Gap” News Reporting on Viewers’ Racial Stereotypes, Inequality Explanations, and Inequality Prioritization. (EdWorkingPaper: -237). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/075t-ed79

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