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Claude Steele to Address Issues of Stereotypes and Student Achievement

Claude M. Steele, director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California, and Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences at Stanford University, will present the Second Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research, on October 20, 2005.

In his address, "Contingencies of Identity and Schooling in a Diverse Society: Toward Reducing Inequality of Outcomes," Dr. Steele will look behind inequality in education to examine "stereotype threat," or the powerful pressure that results when an individual's abilities are judged through the lens of a group stereotype. Dr. Steele will examine reasons that differences in performance persist, even when opportunity is roughly equal, and suggest strategies to remedy academic underperformance and promote a successful and diverse society.

He will address how performance improves dramatically when such pressure is alleviated and outline how the approaches that counteract underperformance can also point to strategies to successfully manage a diverse society.

This occasion is the second annual AERA Brown Lecture, inaugurated in 2004 to mark the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to take scientific research into account in issuing the court's landmark ruling. Edmund W. Gordon, director of the Institute of Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, delivered the inaugural address.

This article, written by Helaine Patterson, appeared in the October 20th publication of The American Educational Research Association.

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