Student Experience Research Network Blog

Researchers and educators agree that motivation is key to student engagement and learning. But how do school and classroom environments affect students’ motivation? How can we design environments that maximize students’ motivation and engagement so that students can maximize their learning?

The Student Experience Research Network has launched a new interdisciplinary initiative to explore how learning environments shape the mindsets students develop about learning and school. Our aim is to rapidly generate scientific evidence about how educators at all levels can convey messages to students that they can grow their ability, that they belong and are valued at school, and that what they are doing in school matters.

We issued a request for proposals in the fall of 2016 seeking ideas for interdisciplinary studies that would utilize recently collected, large-scale datasets that measure a wide array of factors in the environment that might shape students’ mindsets. The datasets include information about diverse learning environments across the country that together educate hundreds of thousands of students.

We are pleased to announce that the network has selected eight projects to fund, which include 14 of the 28 scholars in the network and 18 external collaborators.

The projects span a wide range of topics, from exploring how teacher practices cultivate learning mindsets and identity safety in K-12 classrooms, to the role of new developmental course models in fostering learning mindsets in post-secondary settings. We have published a document that provides details about each of the projects and project teams. The total amount of funding awarded will be nearly $550,000. The Raikes Foundation provided initial funding for the project and other funders are expected to provide additional support in the coming months.

One goal for the project is to avoid the typically long delays that can occur waiting for findings to be published in academic journals. Final reports from the eight project teams will be due in the fall of 2017, and the network will release the major findings in the winter of 2017-18.


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