Self confidence as a boost to educational achievement among bottom-performing blacks

The abstract below appears to be the study some Leftists refer to in their zeal to show that African IQ levels have more potential than is normally apparent. The article is not unreasonable. That blacks at the very bottom rung of educational achievement are there because of low IQ PLUS low motivation is a perfectly straightforward idea that raises no new issues. But is it true? The effects reported below cover only a 2 year time-span -- which is ludicrous for evaluating the effectiveness of the procedure. "Fadeout" of such improvements as the child moves into adulthood is the norm. There is no reason to believe that the procedures reported below will be any different

Recursive Processes in Self-Affirmation: Intervening to Close the Minority Achievement Gap

By Geoffrey L. Cohen et al.

A 2-year follow-up of a randomized field experiment previously reported in Science is presented. A subtle intervention to lessen minority students' psychological threat related to being negatively stereotyped in school was tested in an experiment conducted three times with three independent cohorts (N = 133, 149, and 134). The intervention, a series of brief but structured writing assignments focusing students on a self-affirming value, reduced the racial achievement gap. Over 2 years, the grade point average (GPA) of African Americans was, on average, raised by 0.24 grade points. Low-achieving African Americans were particularly benefited. Their GPA improved, on average, 0.41 points, and their rate of remediation or grade repetition was less (5% versus 18%). Additionally, treated students' self-perceptions showed long-term benefits. Findings suggest that because initial psychological states and performance determine later outcomes by providing a baseline and initial trajectory for a recursive process, apparently small but early alterations in trajectory can have long-term effects. Implications for psychological theory and educational practice are discussed.

Science 17 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5925, pp. 400 - 403

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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