A week ago in The Washington Post, Richard Morin pointed us to a set of studies that show that when you prime people with subtle cues, you can change their performance on tests.
The payoff conclusion comes in the last paragraph on the first page:
The gender gap closed dramatically, as women’s scores improved while men’s stayed the same. “There was no significant difference between men and women,” McGlone said. “With a pretty simple manipulation, we could significantly reduce this gap,” which suggests that “there might be things that make all of these biological factors go away.”
The Psych Central take-away from this is that tests don’t only test the materials they purport to test — they also test subtle biases in the ways the materials are presented. This has significant ramifications for any test that is used to help people make judgments about academic performance — from the SAT and LSAT, to the MCAS, GRE and more.
Source: Women Aren’t Good in Math . . . or Are They? – The Washington Post