Stereotype Threat

The project is part of the junior research group "Increasing Non-Traditional Students' Performance and Social Belonging in Distance Education: A Stereotype Threat Perspective" of the research cluster D²L² "Digitalization, Diversity and Lifelong Learning - Consequences for Higher Education" at the FernUniversität in Hagen.

Project leads: Dr. Laura Froehlich

Project duration: April 2021 through June 2024


Increasing Non-Traditional Students’ Performance and Social Belonging in Distance Education: A Stereotype Threat Perspective

Digital distance education offers unique academic opportunities for non-traditional students (e.g., students who have a migration background, are older, or working full-time). However, digital learning contexts can also pose additional challenges for these students, as memberships in social groups (e.g., gender, age, ethnicity) are particularly salient. The project investigates the influence of stereotypes (generalized beliefs about characteristics of social groups) about non-traditional students and their influence on the academic success and sense of belonging of these students.

Social-psychological research has shown that negative ability-related stereotypes can reduce test performance, learning, academic success and social belonging of negatively stereotyped student groups. Thus, stereotypes can hinder these students from fulfilling their intellectual potential, an effect called stereotype threat. The project investigates stereotype threat for non-traditional students in digital distance education. Furthermore, we will test two interventions designed to support non-traditional students’ sense of belonging at university. The project aims at developing adaptive interventions in order to reduce stereotype threat for non-traditional students in digital distance education.

Research Team Members

  • Nathalie Bick (doctoral researcher)
  • Melanie Mroz (research assistant)