WWC review of this study

A customized belonging intervention improves retention of socially disadvantaged students at a broad-access university

Murphy, M. C., Gopalan, M., Carter, E. R., Emerson, K. T., Bottoms, B. L., & Walton, G. M. (2020). Science Advances, 6(29), 1-7.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,063
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: October 2021

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

Fall semester GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Socially disadvantaged students;
521 students

2.77

2.54

Yes

 
 
9
 
Progressing in college outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Continuous Enrollment

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Socially disadvantaged students;
591 students

86.00

76.00

Yes

 
 
16
 
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Continuous Enrollment

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Socially disadvantaged students;
591 students

73.00

64.00

Yes

 
 
10


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.


  • 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

    Midwest
  • Race
    Asian
    27%
    Black
    7%
    Native American
    2%
    Other or unknown
    36%
    White
    28%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    23%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    77%

Setting

The study was conducted at a large, broad-access, racially and economically diverse, Hispanic-Serving Institution in the Midwest (with over 85% of students commuting to campus).

Study sample

Among all students randomly assigned, 28% were White, 27% were Asian, 7% were Black, 7% were mixed race, and 2% were Native American. Twenty-three percent of students randomly assigned were Hispanic. The breakdown for socially disadvantaged students was not available.

Intervention Group

The intervention was implemented in mandatory first-year writing courses in the students’ first year of college in the spring semester, during a one-hour long class meeting. Students in the intervention group read nine stories from racially diverse upper-year students that described the academic and social challenges to their sense of belonging on campus as well as various strategies they employed that helped them come to feel they belonged at the university over time. The materials represented belonging on campus as a process that develops over time. Students were then asked to describe how their experiences in college to date mirrored the upper-year students’ stories and to write a letter to a future student at their university who might doubt their belonging during the transition to college.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group performed similar activities. The content matched the intervention condition in length, number of student stories, and even in describing a process of college adjustment that develops over time. However, these students received stories that focused on study skills in college, rather than social belonging.

Support for implementation

There was no support for implementation. The researchers designed the intervention and delivered this one-semester experimental procedure.

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top