Search over three decades of research on mindsets, including Mindset Scholars Network briefs and working papers, and other publications from Network studies and initiatives.
Pass rates in community college front-door math courses are a national crisis. The current study adapted a utility value intervention from Hulleman and Harackiewicz (2009) to facilitate student success in community college math. In a double-blind experimental study (n = 180), we found a significant effect of the intervention on student pass rates. Further analysis revealed the intervention primarily improved men’s passing rates by 13% (d = .54), but did not affect women’s (d = -.15). The current study demonstrates that the utility value intervention can boost community college math outcomes. Intervention fidelity, practice, theory, and study limitations are discussed.
In this paper the research team discuss two studies that explore the effects of connecting classroom content to students' lives. First, the research team replicated prior work by demonstrating that the utility value intervention, which manipulated whether students made connections between the course material and their lives, increased both interest and performance of low-performing students in a college general education course. In Study 2, the team manipulated connection frequency by developing an enhanced utility value intervention designed to increase the frequency with which students made connections. The results indicated that students randomly assigned to either utility value intervention, compared with the control condition, subsequently became more confident that they could learn the material, which led to increased course performance. The utility value interventions were particularly effective for the lowest-performing students.