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ERIC Number: EJ1054532
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Closing the Social Class Achievement Gap for First-Generation Students in Undergraduate Biology
Harackiewicz, Judith M.; Canning, Elizabeth A.; Tibbetts, Yoi; Giffen, Cynthia J.; Blair, Seth S.; Rouse, Douglas I.; Hyde, Janet S.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v106 n2 p375-389 May 2014
Many students start college intending to pursue a career in the biosciences, but too many abandon this goal because they struggle in introductory biology. Interventions have been developed to close achievement gaps for underrepresented minority students and women, but no prior research has attempted to close the gap for first-generation students, a population that accounts for nearly a 5th of college students. We report a values affirmation intervention conducted with 798 U.S. students (154 first-generation) in an introductory biology course for majors. For first-generation students, values affirmation significantly improved final course grades and retention in the 2nd course in the biology sequence, as well as overall grade point average for the semester. This brief intervention narrowed the achievement gap between first-generation and continuing-generation students for course grades by 50% and increased retention in a critical gateway course by 20%. Our results suggest that educators can expand the pipeline for first-generation students to continue studying in the biosciences with psychological interventions.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01GM102703; R305B090009
What Works Clearinghouse Reviewed: Meets Evidence Standards without Reservations