Creating a critical mass eliminates the effects of stereotype threat on women's mathematical performance

Pennington, Charlotte Rebecca and Heim, Derek (2016) Creating a critical mass eliminates the effects of stereotype threat on women's mathematical performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 86 (3). pp. 353-368. ISSN 0007-0998

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Abstract

Background Women in mathematical domains may become attuned to situational cues that signal a discredited social identity, contributing to their lower achievement and underrepresentation. Aim This study examined whether heightened in-group representation alleviates the effects of stereotype threat on women's mathematical performance. It further investigated whether single-sex testing environments and stereotype threat influenced participants to believe that their ability was fixed (fixed mindset) rather than a trait that could be developed (growth mindset). Sample and method One hundred and forty-four female participants were assigned randomly to a self-as-target or group-as-target stereotype threat condition or to a control condition. They completed a modular arithmetic maths test and a mindset questionnaire either alone or in same-sex groups of 3–5 individuals. Results Participants solved fewer mathematical problems under self-as-target and group-as-target stereotype threat when they were tested alone, but these performance deficits were eliminated when they were tested in single-sex groups. Participants reported a weaker growth mindset when they were tested under stereotype threat and in single-sex groups. Moreover, evidence of inconsistent mediation indicated that single-sex testing environments negatively predicted mindset but positively predicted mathematical performance. Conclusions These findings suggest that single-sex testing environments may represent a practical intervention to alleviate stereotype threat effects but may have a paradoxical effect on mindset.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
British Journal of Educational Psychology
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Pennington, C. R. and Heim, D. (2016), Creating a critical mass eliminates the effects of stereotype threat on women's mathematical performance. Br J Educ Psychol, 86: 353–368. doi:10.1111/bjep.12110 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjep.12110/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3204
Subjects:
ID Code:
82149
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
12 Oct 2016 13:46
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2020 03:11