WWC review of this study

Reducing inequality in academic success for incoming college students: A randomized trial of growth mindset and belonging interventions

Broda, M., Yun, J., Schneider, B., Yeager, D. S., Walton, G. M., & Diemer, M. (2018). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11(3), 317–338. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1181580

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    4,357
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: October 2021

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Hispanic or Latino, end of fall term;
190 students

2.92

2.73

No

--
More Outcomes

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Black, end of fall term;
317 students

2.65

2.56

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Cumulative GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Hispanic or Latino, end of spring term;
184 students

2.80

2.69

No

--

Cumulative GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Black, end of spring term;
307 students

2.53

2.48

No

--

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

White, end of fall term;
3,421 students

3.23

3.22

No

--

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample (excluding international students), end of fall term;
4,394 students

3.16

3.14

No

--

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Hispanic or Latino, end of spring term;
184 students

2.68

2.64

No

--

Cumulative GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample (excluding international students), end of spring term;
4,277 students

3.11

3.11

No

--

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Black, end of spring term;
307 students

2.41

2.41

No

--

Cumulative GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

White, end of spring term;
3,291 students

3.19

3.20

No

--

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample (excluding international students), end of spring term;
4,277 students

3.06

3.08

No

--

Semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

White, end of spring term;
3,291 students

3.15

3.17

No

--
College enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College enrollment, full time (%)

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Black students, fall term;
317 students

94.00

94.00

No

--
More Outcomes

College enrollment, full time (%)

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Hispanic or Latino students, fall term;
190 students

94.00

97.00

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

College enrollment, full time (%)

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

White students, fall term;
3,421 students

95.00

96.00

No

--

College enrollment, full time (%)

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample (excluding international students), fall term;
4,394 students

95.00

96.00

No

--
Progressing in college outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Hispanic or Latino, end of fall term;
190 students

12.36

12.44

No

--
More Outcomes

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Black students, end of fall term;
317 students

11.76

12.06

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Hispanic or Latino, end of spring term;
184 students

11.84

11.87

No

--

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

White, end of fall term;
3,421 students

13.26

13.28

No

--

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

White, end of spring term;
3,291 students

13.02

13.14

No

--

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample (excluding international students), end of spring term;
4,277 students

12.79

12.91

No

--

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample (excluding international students), end of fall term;
4,394 students

13.08

13.12

No

--

College credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Black, end of spring term;
307 students

11.11

11.43

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Michigan
  • Race
    Black
    63%
    Other or unknown
    37%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    37%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    63%

Setting

The study took place at a public university in Michigan. Several weeks before arriving on campus for a two-day orientation program, incoming first-year students received a survey link from the university and completed the survey either prior to, or after arriving, on campus for orientation.

Study sample

Among students included in the overall analysis sample, 54% were female, 78% were White, 7% were Black, and race was not specified for 15% of the sample. Four percent were Hispanic. Approximately 24% were first-generation college students and 26% were eligible for a Pell grant. Among the students in the main analytic samples for this review, 63% were Black and 37% were Hispanic.

Intervention Group

After reviewing a series of stories about students of the same gender and race/ethnicity dealing with several challenges of starting college, including leaving home, fitting in, and trying to find their own identity, students in the intervention group were asked to respond to a series of questions reflecting on their own expectations for starting college. On average, students spent 15 to 20 minutes on the intervention activities.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group read stories about adapting to the physical aspects of college life, including the weather in Michigan, navigating around the university campus, adjusting to a new class schedule, and finding places to eat. Next, students wrote short essay responses to questions about how the stories they had read related to the start of their own college-going experience. On average, students spent 10 to 15 minutes on the comparison group activities.

Support for implementation

The university administration supported a pilot test of the Growth Mindset and Social Belonging interventions in January 2014 prior to the larger study with all 2014-2015 incoming first year students.

Reviewed: September 2021

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample (excluding international students), end of fall term;
4,357 students

3.18

3.14

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Hispanic or Latino, end of fall term;
193 students

3.13

2.73

Yes

 
 
18

Cumulative GPA

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Hispanic or Latino, end of spring term;
189 students

3.05

2.69

Yes

 
 
15

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Hispanic or Latino, end of spring term;
189 students

2.97

2.64

Yes

 
 
13

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Black, end of fall term;
318 students

2.60

2.56

No

--

Cumulative GPA

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample (excluding international students), end of spring term;
4,229 students

3.12

3.11

No

--

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

White, end of fall term;
3,416 students

3.24

3.22

No

--

Cumulative GPA

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Black, end of spring term;
308 students

2.48

2.48

No

--

Cumulative GPA

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

White, end of spring term;
3,317 students

3.19

3.20

No

--

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample (excluding international students), end of spring term;
4,229 students

3.06

3.08

No

--

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

White, end of spring term;
3,317 students

3.14

3.17

No

--

Semester Grade Point Average (GPA)

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Black, end of spring term;
308 students

2.37

2.41

No

--
College enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College Enrollment Full Time - Fall Semester

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample (excluding international students), end of fall term;
4,357 students

96.00

96.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

College Enrollment Full Time - Fall Semester

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Hispanic or Latino;
193 students

97.00

97.00

No

--

College Enrollment Full Time - Fall Semester

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

White;
3,416 students

96.00

96.00

No

--

College Enrollment Full Time - Fall Semester

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Black;
318 students

93.00

94.00

No

--
Progressing in college outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College Credits Completed - Fall

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample (excluding international students), end of fall term;
4,357 students

13.18

13.12

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

College Credits Completed - Spring

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Hispanic or Latino, end of spring term;
189 students

12.80

11.87

No

--

College Credits Completed - Fall

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Hispanic or Latino, end of fall term;
193 students

13.14

12.44

No

--

College Credits Completed - Spring

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Full sample (excluding international students), end of spring term;
4,229 students

12.87

12.91

No

--

College Credits Completed - Fall

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

White, end of fall term;
3,416 students

13.29

13.29

No

--

College Credits Completed - Spring

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

White, end of spring term;
3,317 students

13.07

13.14

No

--

College Credits Completed - Fall

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Black, end of fall term;
318 students

11.87

12.06

No

--

College Credits Completed - Spring

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

2 Semesters

Black, end of spring term;
308 students

11.15

11.43

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Michigan
  • Race
    Black
    7%
    Other or unknown
    15%
    White
    78%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    4%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    96%

Setting

The study took place at a public university in Michigan. Several weeks before arriving on campus for a two-day orientation program, incoming first-year students received a survey link from the university and completed the survey either prior to, or after arriving, on campus for orientation.

Study sample

Among students included in analyses for main findings, 54% were female, 78% were White, 7% were Black, and race was not specified for 15% of the sample. Four percent were Hispanic. Approximately 24% were first-generation college students and 26% were eligible for a Pell grant.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group read an article summarizing research showing that the brain is malleable and that intelligence can grow if students exert effort when facing a challenge. Next, students wrote short essay responses to questions about how they may or may not have applied a growth mindset to a challenge. Finally, students wrote a letter, incorporating elements of the “brain is malleable” article, offering advice for a future first-year student. On average, students spent 20 to 25 minutes on the intervention activities.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group read stories about adapting to the physical aspects of college life, including the weather in Michigan, navigating around the university campus, adjusting to a new class schedule, and finding places to eat. Next, students wrote short essay responses to questions about how the stories they had read related to the start of their own college-going experience. On average, students spent 10 to 15 minutes on the comparison group activities.

Support for implementation

No additional information provided.

 

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