Of the 150+ students registered for my spring courses, 100 are pre-nursing students (which is funny, because most of them have decades of experience working as nurses). Most of them are math-phobic middle aged women who panic at the sight, sound or smell of anything mathematical. Like when they see the room number. Or smell chalk. Or have to write the date on their lab reports.
These same women are always on time, or early. They make study groups and do all of the things you hope struggling students will do. They take METICULOUS notes. They can answer any question I ask during class.
And then they take a test. They can do literally identical problems in class that they can not do on an exam. During problem solving sessions, they are adamant that they can "only do this when [you] help me. As soon as I go home I am lost." As God is my witness, I do not do a thing while they do problem sets in class. I am literally in the room with them and that is it. Put it on a test and they go from solid B/B+ students, to beyond F. Like they do work in class that's worth uninflated high 80's, on a test, I can scratch together enough excuses for partial credit to give them a 40, and if someone audited my grading, I would get fired for grade inflation.
My husband is in Ed. Psych. and he's got these journal articles all over our office about "Stereotype threat". That's exactly their problem. I have tried once in a while to give a pep-talk the class before an exam, and include the concept of stereotype threat. It usually pulls one or two of these students into reality and they proceed along a more enjoyable trajectory. It rarely makes much of an effect on the group as a whole. So I had this idea...
I want to attach an article on stereotype threat to the syllabus. Have it as a reading assignment right from day one. But the articles I have here in the office are real deal research based peer-reviewed psychology articles. Giving this out would also throw the ones with reading disabilities into a twirl and then I'd have two kinds of canaries to calm instead of one. And my plea to the social scientists of the community is:
Does anyone have a pop-science version of an article on stereotype threat that I could give as suggested reading to my health-science class?