How Perception Management Can Counter Stereotype Threat

Report
Eye of the Beholder:
How Perception
Management Can Counter
Stereotype Threat Among
Struggling Law Students
Catherine Christopher
Assistant Professor and Director of Bar Prep Resources
Texas Tech School of Law
Dec. 6, 2014
Overview

What is stereotype threat?

How does stereotype threat affect
struggling law students?

How can law schools manage stereotype
threat?
Stereotype Threat Generally
Stereotype Threat Generally
Stereotype Threat Generally
Changed purpose
to remove stereotype
Stereotype Threat Generally
“Double Consequence”
Stereotype Threat Generally
Stereotype Threat Generally
Stereotype Boost
Stereotype Threat Generally

Women – negotiations

White males – prejudice

Elderly people – forgetfulness

Lower-class French citizens – verbal
agility
Most significant on standardized exams
Stereotype Threat Generally
The more you care
Stereotype Threat Generally
Stereotype Threat Generally

Performance suffers among threatened
groups “as a reaction to evaluative
apprehension; test anxiety; the presence
of an audience; and competition.”
◦ Jason S. Marks, Legally Blind? Reevaluating Law School
Admissions at the Dawn of a New Century, 29 J.C. & U.L. 111,
127 (2002) (citing Claude M. Steele & Joshua
Aronson, Stereotype Threat and the Intellectual Test
Performance of African Americans, 69 J. PERS. & SOC.
PSYCH. 797, 809 (1997)).
CLAUDE M. STEELE, WHISTLING VIVALDI: HOW
STEREOTYPES AFFECT US AND WHAT WE CAN DO
(2010).
Stereotype Threat in Law School
Stereotype:
Students with low GPAs fail the bar
Stereotype Threat in Law School

ASP works!
◦ Denise Riebe, A Bar Review for Law Schools:
Getting Students on Board to Pass Their Bar
Exams, 45 BRANDEIS L.J. 269, 289–300 (2007)
(summarizing existing literature and empirical
research on the demonstrated success of
academic support programs).
Managing Stereotype Threat

Reduce stereotype threat by reducing or
dissolving negative stereotypes
◦ Reframing the bar exam
◦ Emphasizing its consistency
◦ Celebrating struggle
◦ Represent successful struggle
Managing Stereotype Threat

Create stereotype boost by developing
positive stereotypes
◦ Create an “in” club
◦ Track and advertise success relative to peers
Eye of the Beholder:
How Perception
Management Can Counter
Stereotype Threat Among
Struggling Law Students
Catherine Christopher
Assistant Professor and Director of Bar Prep Resources
Texas Tech School of Law
Dec. 6, 2014

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