Values affirmation

From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments

Revision as of 14:09, 10 November 2015 by Abayer1 (talk | contribs) (Created page with "Having students reflect on the things most important to them--such as family and life goals--can help sustain them through the difficulties of being in the minority in an academi...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Having students reflect on the things most important to them--such as family and life goals--can help sustain them through the difficulties of being in the minority in an academic setting.

"Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation" (Science 26 November 2010: Vol. 330 no. 6008 pp. 1234-1237) by Akira Miyake, Lauren E. Kost-Smith, Noah D. Finkelstein, Steven J. Pollock, Geoffrey L. Cohen, Tiffany A. Ito

In many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, women are outperformed by men in test scores, jeopardizing their success in science-oriented courses and careers. The current study tested the effectiveness of a psychological intervention, called values affirmation, in reducing the gender achievement gap in a college-level introductory physics class. In this randomized double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week course. Values affirmation reduced the male-female performance and learning difference substantially and elevated women's modal grades from the C to B range. Benefits were strongest for women who tended to endorse the stereotype that men do better than women in physics. A brief psychological intervention may be a promising way to address the gender gap in science performance and learning.

"A Brief Social-Belonging Intervention Improves Academic and Health Outcomes of Minority Students" (Science 18 March 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6023 pp. 1447-1451) by Gregory M. Walton and Geoffrey L. Cohen

A brief intervention aimed at buttressing college freshmen’s sense of social belonging in school was tested in a randomized controlled trial (N = 92), and its academic and health-related consequences over 3 years are reported. The intervention aimed to lessen psychological perceptions of threat on campus by framing social adversity as common and transient. It used subtle attitude-change strategies to lead participants to self-generate the intervention message. The intervention was expected to be particularly beneficial to African-American students (N = 49), a stereotyped and socially marginalized group in academics, and less so to European-American students (N = 43). Consistent with these expectations, over the 3-year observation period the intervention raised African Americans’ grade-point average (GPA) relative to multiple control groups and halved the minority achievement gap. This performance boost was mediated by the effect of the intervention on subjective construal: It prevented students from seeing adversity on campus as an indictment of their belonging. Additionally, the intervention improved African Americans’ self-reported health and well-being and reduced their reported number of doctor visits 3 years postintervention. Senior-year surveys indicated no awareness among participants of the intervention’s impact. The results suggest that social belonging is a psychological lever where targeted intervention can have broad consequences that lessen inequalities in achievement and health.