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Many stereotypes exist about the academic performance of learners based on categories such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Stereotype Threat suggests that people can underperform in many academic areas, including learning to read, when faced with the prospect of being judged.
Stereotype Threat occurs when a negative stereotype that exists in a culture about a group results in suboptimal performance by members of that group. This can impact performance even in classrooms where the learner does not personally experience prejudiced behavior toward them by teachers or peers. This is particularly true on tests where students are told the test is diagnostic of their intellectual abilities. Also, individuals who do not believe the stereotype is true about their group will often still experience the negative effects of Stereotype Threat.
People can hold two types of stereotypes:
In the United States, Stereotype Threat impacts learning to read for multiple groups: