Friday, January 23, 2009

An Obama 'bounce' for students?

Barack Obama has been president less than a week but professors from Vanderbilt, Northwestern and San Diego state universities say they’ve already documented the “Obama effect” on black students.

They gave a 20-question test, gleaned from the Graduate Record Exam, to blacks and whites before Obama’s nomination and after his acceptance speech, and again after the presidential election. On the initial test last summer, whites on average correctly answered about 12 of 20 questions, compared with about 8.5 correct answers for blacks. But on the tests administered immediately after Obama's nomination acceptance speech, and just after his election victory, black performance improved, rendering the white-black gap “statistically nonsignificant,” researchers said.


Harvard professor Ronald F. Ferguson, who studies the achievement gap, wasn't surprised. He said there is "empirical support for the proposition that Obama's election could increase the sense of competence among African-Americans, and it could reduce the anxiety associated with taking difficult test questions.” In SAT test score comparisons in past years, researchers have found that blacks performed significantly poorer when asked at the start to fill out a form identifying themselves by race.
The study has not yet undergone peer review, and academics said they would be interested to see if other researchers would be able to replicate its results.
A lot of teachers, parents, politicians and others are likely anxious too.

4 comments:

Teresa said...

that is great but people lets not make this a black and white all kids should be treated the same and not just point out the black children white kids should be a part of this too. This country has come to far to now go back in time to black and white.

barkomomma said...

"tests administered immediately after Obama's nomination acceptance speech, and just after his election victory, black performance improved, rendering the white-black gap 'statistically nonsignificant'"

So all it took was to elect a "black" man as President and suddenly intelligence for that demographic shot up?

Yeah, I'm buying that.

Anonymous said...

I think that the most significant point in this column is the following statement: "In SAT test score comparisons in past years, researchers have found that blacks performed significantly poorer when asked at the start to fill out a form identifying themselves by race."
It seems that almost everything in Charlotte is examined and judged through the lens of race, most notably on the pages of the Observer. Perhaps if we ceased this practice we would see better outcomes all around.

Becky said...

If they don't identify themselves by race, then all these race-war hate mongerers would have no ammunition! That'll never happen. Too many people get too much attention for their whining.