WWC review of this study

A social-belonging intervention improves STEM outcomes for students who speak English as a second language

LaCosse, J., Canning, E.A., Bowman, N, Murphy, M.C., & Logel, C. (2020). Science Advances.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    2,283
     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

STEM GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

ESL;
2,283 students

3.24

3.13

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Proportion of STEM credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

ESL;
2,440 students

0.94

0.92

No

--

STEM GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Year

ESL;
2,474 students

3.15

3.11

No

--

Proportion of STEM credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Year

ESL;
2,564 students

0.94

0.91

No

--

STEM GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Non-ESL;
8,578 students

3.05

3.06

No

--

Proportion of STEM credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Non-ESL;
8,861 students

0.93

0.93

No

--

STEM GPA

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Non-ESL;
9,203 students

3.00

3.02

No

--

Proportion of STEM credits completed

Social Belonging vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Non-ESL;
9,363 students

0.92

0.92

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.


  • 100% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%
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    Midwest, Northeast, South, West
  • Race
    Asian
    50%
    Black
    2%
    Native American
    0%
    Other or unknown
    40%
    White
    8%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    34%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    66%

Setting

The study was conducted with incoming first-year undergraduates from 19 four-year colleges and universities across the Unites States, representing public and private institutions and multiple Carnegie classifications and selectivity levels.

Study sample

All students in the analytic sample indicated an interest in STEM. The analytic sample among ESL students is 51% female. Half of the students (50%) were Asian, 8% were White, 3% were Middle Eastern, 2% were Black, 2% were multiracial, less than 1% were Native American, and 1% were classified as Other. Thirty-four percent of the students were Hispanic.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group read stories, written by upper-level students, that were about the transition to college. They were also asked to write an essay describing in their own words what they had read and to answer a short questionnaire about their demographics. There were two versions of the intervention. In the standard version, the stories focused on the transition to college and accompanying challenges related to feelings of belonging. In the customized treatment, the challenges were specific to the students’ own institutions.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group received similar stories to read and were also expected to write about what they had read, but neither the stories nor the writing prompt they were given focused on challenges connected with feelings of belonging experienced during the transition to college.

Support for implementation

Additional information is not available about the implementation of the Social Belonging intervention.

 

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