Environmental Effects on Variable Practice of Example Formats
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There is a lack of women in mathematics-related fields. This might be due to stereotype threat, when a person performs worse than usual when presented with a negative stereotype because they are worried they will prove the stereotype to be correct (Steele, 1997). As practice schedules can affect performance (Carlson & Yaure, 1990), this experiment measured math performance after implementing blocked or random practice schedules and an activated or inactivated negative stereotype. Forty-eight college students learned probability from worked examples and practice problems and were tested on overall math performance and other aspects of learning. Results suggest that, in general, a blocked order tends to yield greater math performance, especially under the effects of a negative stereotype. Future research should examine retention, in addition to acquisition, of the learning materials.