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Access2Success Curriculum Resources

Empirically Validated Strategies to Reduce Stereotype Threat

Below is a brief list of empirically validated strategies to reduce stereotype threat. For reviews of these strategies, see:

  • Cohen, G. L., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J. (2012). An identity threat perspective on intervention. In Stereotype threat (Inzlicht, Schmader, Eds.). (downloadable here: )
  • Garcia, J., & Cohen, G. L. (in press). A social-psychological approach to educational intervention. In Behavioral foundations of policy (Shafir, Ed.) (downloadable here:
  • Steele, D. M. (2012). Creating identity safe classrooms. In J. A. Banks (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

3. Create a Critical Mass

  • Increase the visibility and representation of people from minority groups in a field (Murphy et al., 2007; Purdie-Vaughns et al., 2008)
  • Among test-takers (Inzlicht & Ben-Zeev, 2000)
  • And in positions of authority (e.g., among teachers; Carrell et al., 2010; Dee, 2004; Massey & Fischer, 2005)

8. Help Students Manage Feelings of Stress and Threat

  • Teach students about stereotype threat so that they attribute anxiety to stereotype threat rather than to the risk of failure (Johns et al., 2005)
  • Teach students to reappraise arousal as a potential facilitator of strong performance rather than barrier to it (Johns et al., 2008)

9. Support Students’ Sense of Belonging

  • Teach students that worries about belonging in school are normal, not unique to them or their group, and are transient rather than fixed (Walton & Cohen, 2007, 2011)

10. Convey High Standards and Assure Students of Their Ability to Meet These Standards

  • Frame critical feedback as reflective of high standards and one’s confidence in students’ ability to meet those standards (Cohen & Steele, 2002; Cohen et al., 1999)
  • More generally, teach students to view critical feedback as reflective of feedback-givers’ high standards and confidence in their ability to meet the standards (Yeager et al., 2011)

Want to learn more?

  • On stereotype threat:
  • Geoff Cohen:
  • Claude Steele:
  • Greg Walton: