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The "SMC Mindset" Intervention

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Lee Pritchard

on 10 July 2014

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Transcript of The "SMC Mindset" Intervention

The "SMC Mindset" Intervention
Inspired by "The UT Mindset" Intervention
UT-Austin's "Graduation Gap"

52% four-year graduation rate vs 70% at comparable universities (U of M, UVA, etc.)

Only 40% of "disadvantaged" students graduate in four years
They concluded the problem wasn't just academic preparation
3.5 GPA
Top 7% class rank
ACT score of 22
(equiv 1030/1600 SAT)

Likelihood of graduating:
Highest income quartile = 65%
Lowest income quartile = 15%
They designed an intervention
Online orientation process included "The UT Mindset"module:
Students were divided into groups
They read messages from successful UT-A students

After the first semester, researchers measured student success (defined as completion of 12 or more credits).
No impact on advantaged students (90% on track)
No impact on disadvantaged students who received the control message (82% on track)
Positive impact on disadvantaged students who received the treatment messages (86% on track)
We're not UT-Austin.
But. . .
The intervention builds on/dovetails with the work we're already doing
*Belonging/Imposter syndrome

*Student voice to the "expert" text
*SMC-specific narratives

Treatment Message 1:
The "Belonging" Message:

I felt like an imposter at first; I worried maybe I just wasn't college material

I thought I was the only one who was struggling

Now I realize everyone struggles

Now I feel that I belong at UT Austin
Treatment Message 2:
The "Mindset" Message:

I experienced failure for the first time

I was shocked at how hard I had to work

Eventually I learned I could succeed with effort
Treatment Message 3:
The "Hybrid" Message:

A mix of Belonging and Mindset messages
Control-Group Message:
Generic message re. adapting to

Local culture


"Bland" messages

"Banal" messages
After reading the messages, students wrote a letter of advice to other newcomers.

The process took 25-45 minutes, on average.
Disadvantaged students "cut the gap between themselves and advantaged students in half."
An Invitation to Join Us
Developmental English and English 1:
Contact me if you'd like your students to participate

English 2 and above:
Contact me if you're willing to assign student reflections re. Belonging and Mindset
Let me know if you're interested in writing prompts for the reflection messages, reading/choosing the messages to publish, other logistical stuff.
Full transcript