Implicit Social Cognition as a Predictor of Academic Performance

Project Number
OER 12/12 MK

Project Duration
July 2012 - August 2014


The performance of school students from East Asia and Singapore on large-scale international math achievement tests is excellent. Countries from this region tend to be among the top 10 high-scoring countries in the world. However, individual differences exist in students' performance on match achievement tests. Some students in Singapore do not perform as well as others on standardized math achievement tests, and this grant investigates ways of predicting this individual variation, with implications for targeted interventions of those particular children who would profit most. Recent studies suggest interesting individual differences between male and female students. In particular, for female students who have internalized the cultural stereotype that math is a male discipline do not perform as well on standardized math achievement tests, as do males who have internalized the same stereotype. In addition, female students who demonstrate the cultural math-gender stereotype have lower grades in an undergraduate math course. These patterns are important developmentally, because children who have reduced interest in future academic courses and occupations that they perceive as being incompatible with their own academic self-concept. Assuming that differences between genders on social-cognitive measures are important because they are likely to affect learning outcomes, it is necessary to replicate the findings using more reliable, in-depth and theoretically grounded measures of these psychological constructs. Furthermore, it is necessary to broaden the nomothetic net of constructs related to the three main constructs showing the differences since it is possible that deeper psychological processes underlie the observed results. Singapore is particularly relevant to this line of work. Interventions based on implicit measurement techniques can be of particular benefit to Singaporean students: Changes in the strength of students' implicit attitudes, stereotypes and self-concepts about math and science may be associated with increased performance in math and science on students' part. The information obtained from implicit measures can be of value for Singaporean educators as well. Implicit measures are easily administered, psychometrically sound and sensitive to individual differences. In our research to date with 1000+ primary school students in Singapore and USA, students generally find implicit assessment techniques fun and informative. Because they do not require specific curriculum to have been completed, implicit measures can provide a quick diagnostic.

Research Themes
Learning Science & Pedagogy

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Brief Series No. 14-006: Implicit Social Cognition as a Predictor of Academic Performance

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