Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, December 16, 2005

Assuming Your Conclusion

        Shavar Jeffries of BlackProf.com has a good post up on why school choice is especially important for blacks.  Worth reading in full, but one part I must dissent from.

        After describing some of the ways black students do poorly in public schools, Jeffries says:
        These particular manifestations are simply iterations of a predicate disease: A host of studies suggest that public-school officials simply imagine and expect less of Black students.

        It may be that the reason blacks do poorly in public schools is low expectations, but I've never heard of a study in which black students were expected to do as well as whites in public schools.  Until such studies take place, we have no reason to ascribe low black academic performance to expectations.  It may be that low expectations are simply realistic concerning black children.

        Hat tip: Instapundit.

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  • I refer you to the following studies:

    The double blind studies by Claude Steele, which show exactly this.

    Claude Steele: "Stereotype threat and the Test Performance of Academically Successful African American," in Jencks and Phillips, The Black-White Test Score Gap, ch. 11.

    "A Threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape the Intellectual Identities and Performance of Women and African Americans," American Psychologist, June 1997.

    Also the Studies of Lee Jussin, Jacquelynne Eccles, and Stephanie Madon: "Social Perception, Social Stereotypes, and Teacher Expectations: Accuracy and the Quest for the Powerful Self-fulfilling Prophecy", Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 28 (1996).

    The studies of Steele were particularly on point because he divided students in a way that showed that expectations (both high and low) effect performance. I have been told that Steele research has been repeated many times and the results have been confirmed.

    The problem of course in such tests is a matter of signaling. Are the signals of expectations really the signals the experimenter is testing.

    Jerry Monaco

    By Anonymous Jerry Monaco, at 11:13 AM  

  • Jerry:

            Thanks for the tip, I'll look those studies up when I get the chance.

    By Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge, at 11:33 AM  

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