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Progress on Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Growth Mindset and Belonging Interventions in a Freshman Engineering Class

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2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting


California State University, Los Angeles , California

Publication Date

April 4, 2019

Start Date

April 4, 2019

End Date

April 6, 2019

Conference Session

PSW Section Meeting Papers - Disregard start and end time - for online paper access only

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Pacific Southwest Section Meeting Paper Submissions

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Paper Authors


Jinny Rhee San Jose State University

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Dr. Jinny Rhee is the associate dean of the College of Engineering at San Jose State University. She oversees all aspects of the undergraduate programs in the college. Her research interests include administration of programs supporting student success, in addition to thermal management of heat and power systems. Dr. Rhee received a PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University (1995).

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Camille S. Johnson San Jose State University

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Camille Johnson is a professor of management in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at San Jose State University. She has a PhD in social psychology from Ohio State University and studies first generation students and diversity issues.

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Growth mindset and belonging interventions have shown to be effective in increasing retention and performance in some K-12 and postsecondary populations. These interventions hold the promise of cost-effective and scalable interventions that may be able to boost retention and graduation rates, and close the achievement gap that often exists between underrepresented (URM) students and non-URMs.

A study of the impact of growth mindset and belonging interventions was designed and implemented in the 2015-2016 academic year in an Introduction to Engineering Course typically taken in the freshman year of all engineering and technology programs at a large comprehensive public university. The interventions were adapted from prior successful interventions by established researchers. Preliminary results upon the conclusion of the Spring 2016 semester showed that the interventions had different effects on different demographic groups. The belonging intervention resulted in higher course performance compared to the control group among the men and non-URMs in the study, controlling for instructor, high school GPA, and SAT math score. Curiously, the growth mindset intervention resulted in lower course performance among women in the study, also controlling for the same possible pre-existing differences. Neither intervention appeared to influence the URM students course performance. Currently, we have 5 semesters of retention and progress-to-degree data for this cohort (N = 441). Prior work with these interventions have registered long-term effects of subtle interventions, and it is our hope that there will be measurable effects on metrics of student progress and success that linger past the intervention.

Rhee, J., & Johnson, C. S. (2019, April), Progress on Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Growth Mindset and Belonging Interventions in a Freshman Engineering Class Paper presented at 2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, California State University, Los Angeles , California.

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