The achievement gap in academic performance between academically at-risk minorities and white students has concerned educators for decades now. It's a troubling fact that Latino Americans and African Americans, for example, earn lower grades on average than their white peers and are much more likely to drop out of high school.
Amid such sobering statistics, a bright spark has appeared in the form of research being led by Geoffrey Cohen, a professor of education and of psychology at Stanford, and David Sherman of the University of California-Santa Barbara. In an article published online Feb. 11 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Cohen, Sherman and seven co-authors write that a simple intervention made with middle school Latino American students reduced the achievement gap significantly. What's more, the positive effect persisted over time.