ERIC Number: EJ1111415
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Broadening Participation in the Life Sciences with Social-Psychological Interventions
Tibbetts, Yoi; Harackiewicz, Judith M.; Priniski, Stacy J.; Canning, Elizabeth A.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v15 n3 Essay 4 Sep 2016
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have recently documented the positive effects of social-psychological interventions on the performance and retention of underrepresented students in the life sciences. We review two types of social-psychological interventions that address either students' well-being in college science courses or students' engagement in science content. Interventions that have proven effective in RCTs in science courses (namely, utility-value [UV] and values-affirmation [VA] interventions) emphasize different types of student values--students' perceptions of the value of curricular content and students' personal values that shape their educational experiences. Both types of value can be leveraged to promote positive academic outcomes for underrepresented students. For example, recent work shows that brief writing interventions embedded in the curriculum can increase students' perceptions of UV (the perceived importance or usefulness of a task for future goals) and dramatically improve the performance of first-generation (FG) underrepresented minority students in college biology. Other work has emphasized students' personal values in brief essays written early in the semester. This VA intervention has been shown to close achievement gaps for women in physics classes and for FG students in college biology. By reviewing recent research, considering which interventions are most effective for different groups, and examining the causal mechanisms driving these positive effects, we hope to inform life sciences educators about the potential of social-psychological interventions for broadening participation in the life sciences.
Descriptors: Biological Sciences, Access to Education, Outreach Programs, Randomized Controlled Trials, Intervention, Student Participation, Well Being, Student Attitudes, Values, Sense of Community, Course Content, Change Strategies, Learning Motivation, College Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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