Research Paper On Affirmative Action

Research Paper On Affirmative Action-78
When students observe differences such as these, they may, understandably, come to expect rejection both from their professors and peers, which can undermine their trust, feelings of belonging, and motivation in school, and—in turn—their performance.

When students observe differences such as these, they may, understandably, come to expect rejection both from their professors and peers, which can undermine their trust, feelings of belonging, and motivation in school, and—in turn—their performance.

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If these modest exercises to reduce psychological strain in the academic environment can have such a powerful effect on the performance and engagement of students of color, without changing anything about their knowledge or credentials, it cannot be simply a lack of ability or preparation holding back these students’ achievement.

Instead, this extensive body of research suggests that academic outcome measures such as test scores and grades habitually underestimate the ability of students of color, and instead often reflect the presence of threat in their environment—both before and during college.

One psychological strain faced by students of color that we study in our experiments is stereotype threat.

Decades of science has shown that pervasive stereotypes of certain identity groups as less intelligent or less capable in academics often lead students of these groups to worry that they could be judged through the lens of these negative stereotypes.

These results suggest that students’ psychological environment plays a large role in both their grades and major selections.

Another aspect of the psychological environment we target with experimental exercises is the expectation of many black and Latino students that they will be treated differently in academic environments than white students.To put it another way: Let’s imagine that we strap a 15-pound weight to a runner’s back during her qualifying race. The lazy solution—the “mismatch” solution—would be to keep the weight on her back and assign the runner to a slower heat where she might be able to win, despite the extra weight.Most would probably agree, however, that the real solution is to remove the weight and assign the runner to the faster heat that matches her true ability level.Another good point made on the pro side of affirmative action is that by offering a certain number of jobs to minorities only, in turn creates diversity within the workplace.By moving minorities into the mainstream of society, the stigmas and racial prejudices that people have will soon be eliminated by the simple fact of interaction.This expectation is not unfounded; research consistently shows that bias still exists today in the education system.For example: professors are less likely to respond to emails from students of color requesting research opportunities or mentorship than emails from white students; readers told that an essay writer is black evaluate that essay as poorer quality than when they are told the writer is white; and black grade school students face harsher disciplinary action and less warmth from teachers and administrators than their white peers.We find that these exercises reduce the academic achievement gap between treated black students and their white peers by 40-50%.Moreover, these effects tend to strengthen over time; three years after the belonging exercise, the grade gap between treated black and white students had closed by 79%.However, the underlying assumption that poorer academic outcomes indicate lower ability ignores a large piece of the puzzle: the taxing psychological environment faced by students of groups historically marginalized in academics.In the abstract, it can be challenging to separate these two explanations—psychological environment versus lower ability—because they both result in the same outcomes: lower scores and greater attrition from challenging majors.

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