Tackling educational inequalities with social psychology: identities, contexts, and interventions

Easterbrook, Matthew J and Hadden, Ian R (2020) Tackling educational inequalities with social psychology: identities, contexts, and interventions. Social Issues and Policy Review. pp. 1-57. ISSN 1751-2395

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (830kB)
[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial.

Download (730kB)


Some groups of students—typically those who have suffered because of historical inequality in society—disproportionately experience psychological barriers to educational success. These psychological barriers—feelings of threat to their social identity and the sense that their identity is incompatible with educational success—make substantial contributions to inequalities in educational outcomes between groups, even beyond economic, historical, and structural inequalities. A range of wise psychological interventions can help remove these barriers by targeting students’ subjective interpretation of their local educational context. In this review, we outline the Identities in Context model of educational inequalities, which proposes that interactions between students’ social identities and features of the local educational context—expectations about a group's academic performance, a group's representation in positions associated with academic success, and a group's orientation towards education—can trigger social identity threat and identity incompatibility in ways that vary considerably across contexts. We present an implementation process, based on the Identities in Context model, that academic researchers, policymakers, and practitioners can follow to help them choose and tailor wise interventions that are effective in reducing educational inequalities in their local context. Throughout the review, we make policy recommendations regarding how educational practices can be altered to help remove psychological barriers for underperforming groups of students and so reduce educational inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2020 07:11
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2020 16:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/94101

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update