This article addresses the issue of standardized test performance gaps, and academic achievement gaps more generally, between White and minority students. While many explanatory frameworks can be applied to this issue, this article specifically examines the issue from the perspective of social psychology, which examines how individual psychology is affected by social interactions and groups. This article reviews now classic research on attributional ambiguity as well as stereotype and identity threat as potential precursors to academic disengagement, disidentification, and disenfranchisement. Overall, this research suggests that academic performance and achievement are as much influenced by cognitive processes as they are by relational processes, and that concerns about discrimination and being the target of prejudice serve to undermine students’ performance. Newer assessment tools that do not rely on biased assessments are presented and discussed.
The Journal of Negro Education (JNE), a refereed scholarly periodical, was founded at Howard University in 1932 to fill the need for a scholarly journal that would identify and define the problems that characterized the education of Black people in the United States and elsewhere, provide a forum for analysis and solutions, and serve as a vehicle for sharing statistics and research on a national basis. JNE sustains a commitment to a threefold mission: first, to stimulate the collection and facilitate the dissemination of facts about the education of Black people; second, to present discussions involving critical appraisals of the proposals and practices relating to the education of Black people; and third, to stimulate and sponsor investigations of issues incident to the education of Black people.