Research

Research: Brief Online Interventions Can Improve Student Achievement

Researchers at Stanford University and the University of Texas, Austin studied the effect of brief, Web-based interventions on high school students at risk of dropping out and found that students' grade point averages increased after only two 45-minute sessions.

The researchers used two types of online interventions, one involving the development of a "growth mindset" and the other involving the development of a "sense of purpose."

The growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed rather than being fixed at birth, and that struggling through challenging tasks is an opportunity to improve intelligence. In the study, researchers asked the students to read an article about the brain's ability to grow intellectually through hard work and effective academic strategies.

The sense-of-purpose intervention asked students to write about how they thought the world could be a better place; to read stories about the effect of academic achievement on their ability to make a positive impact on the world; and to think about how school could help them achieve their goals.

The study involved 1,594 students in 13 high schools and measured changes in their grades in core academic subjects. "The results showed that among students at risk for dropping out (one-third of the sample), both interventions raised grade-point-averages and increased the rate at which the students performed satisfactorily in each course by 6.4 percentage points," according to information from Stanford University.

"If our short, Web-based activities can help students see school as a place where they can grow their abilities and become the kind of person they want to be, and if that change in perspective makes students more motivated and successful, then it seems likely that there are many opportunities in the classroom to send these messages to better engage students," said David Paunesku, a behavioral scientist and lead author on the paper.

To help teachers implement these interventions in the classroom, the Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS), an applied research center at Stanford University, is developing the Mindset Kit, a free, online curriculum to help teach the "growth mindset." The Mindset Kit is currently in beta.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

comments powered by Disqus

Campus Technology News

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.