Student Experience Research Network Blog

Many members of the Student Experience Research Network presented their work at the 2016 American Educational Research Association conference. Brief summaries of the papers they presented on can be found below:

What is true about grit: Relations with self-regulation and motivation and new innovative interventions
Paper: Gritty is as gritty does: Mentoring interventions that build grit
Featured Scholar: Angela Duckworth
When looking at large samples of students, grit levels have been shown to predict academic performance and other important life outcomes. In this presentation, Angela discusses current research on programs that aim to foster grit in both adults and adolescents. When testing a mentoring program, she found that when individuals served as ‘grit mentors’ for others, they were better able to persist towards their own long-term goals.

Measuring teacher effectiveness: Various approaches to identifying effective instruction
Paper: Using teacher surveys to validate the Tripod 7Cs
Featured Scholar: Ron Ferguson
How do we really know whether an educator is effective? In this roundtable discussion Ron discusses how student feedback and assessment of teachers tends to go beyond a ‘popularity contest’ and instead can provide valuable, beneficial insights into the effectiveness of the teacher. Read more about Ron’s survey findings related to mindsets here.

Extending the expectancy-value model: Definitions and functions in cost of students’ choice, engagement, and performance
Paper: Moving from an expectancy-value model of motivation to an expectancy-value-cost model of motivation
Featured Scholar: Christopher Hulleman
The ability to motivate students is commonly discussed as having two necessary components: expectations of being successful at a task and a perceived value to engaging in the task. However, Chris and his team suggest a third component: the cost of engaging in a task or activity. This paper and discussion focus on going beyond the typical view of motivation in order to better engage and understand students’ motivations and behaviors.

Different routes to similar outcomes: Improving students’ wellbeing in addition to achievement in school
Paper 1: An emotion regulation intervention for adolescents
Featured Scholars: Carissa Romero, David Paunesku, Geoffrey Cohen, Carol Dweck
Paper 2: Changing a simple belief alters adolescents’ cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to social stress
Featured Scholar: David Yeager
Multiple Mindset Scholars’ research was featured during this symposium. In the study featured in the first paper, researchers taught students emotional regulation strategies and explained that with time and practice everyone can improve their regulation abilities. Students in this program reported higher wellbeing a month after the program. The second paper reported that students who received a growth mindset program focused on the idea that people can change showed improved physiological responses to a challenging task and positive effects on psychopathology, achievement, and health nine months after the program.

ED Talk: Increasing the education and life chances for the new American majority
Featured Scholar: Barbara Schneider
Barbara presented a TED-style talk on improving college access and the comprehensive College Access Program (“CAP”) she and her colleagues have put into operation in 13 schools across Michigan. The program has been shown to have a positive effect on college-going among first generation college students.

How schools and neighborhoods matter
Paper: Stratification in course-taking and health
Featured Scholar: Chandra Muller
What is the relationship between health and the courses high school students take? In this study, Chandra and her research team find that students with disabilities and at unhealthy weights tend to take lower-level courses, which could have detrimental affects on their educational attainment and skills later in life.

Emotions in technology-rich environments: Theory, measurement, and the future
Paper: Automatic objective measurement of student emotions in computer-enabled classrooms
Featured Scholars: Sidney D’Mello
Is there a way to more accurately measure students’ emotions to improve learning? In this study, Sidney and his team explore how digital learning environments could be used to respond to students’ emotional needs. The study’s findings suggest that emotion detectors can be used to help researchers better understand human emotions.

Psychosocial skills in the 21st Century: Theory, research, and application
Paper: Current theories, constructs, and interventions within an expectancy-value framework
Featured Scholars: Christopher Hulleman
What is motivation? This paper explores different theories and constructs of motivation, specifically looking at the concepts of ‘expectancy’ (Will I be successful at this task?) and ‘value’ (Do I want to do it?). The authors also look into how our understanding of these core motivational concepts can lend itself to the creation and implementation of effective interventions in this domain.

Advances in utility-value intervention research
Paper: Assessing and Predicting Student Treatment Compliance in a Utility-Value Intervention Study
Featured Scholars: Christopher Hulleman
This study looks into students’ completion of motivational interventions. The researchers found that certain characteristics, such as student levels of conscientiousness (i.e., the tendency to work hard and persist at tasks) could have an effect on their compliance in participating in the treatments. Other characteristics, such as cognitive ability, only predicted students’ likelihood of completing motivational interventions for certain types of interventions.

Parental effects on adolescents’ and young adults’ motivation and career plans in STEM
Paper: STEM Motivation and Course-Taking: Bidirectional Relationships Between Parents and Adolescents From Middle School to College
Featured Scholars: Christopher Hulleman
This longitudinal study looked at how attitudes about STEM within families can affect students’ likelihood of enrolling in STEM courses over time. The results showed that mothers’ perceptions of their child’s mathematical abilities did predict the likelihood of enrollment in high school STEM courses and performance levels in these courses. High school performance in these courses then predicted likelihood of enrolling in further STEM courses in college.

“Why Do I Feel This Way?” Recursive and reinforcing antecedents of emotions in the classroom
Paper: Declines in Adaptive Emotion Regulation Beliefs and Strategies Across Middle School
Featured Scholars: Carissa Romero, David Paunesku, Geoffrey Cohen, Carol Dweck
This study looked into adolescents’ abilities to use emotional regulation strategies. Students reported which strategies they use and their wellbeing both within and outside of school. Results found that use of strategies correlated with higher levels of wellbeing. Additionally, the researchers found that older students tended to use fewer emotional regulation strategies and reported lower levels of wellbeing.

Can University-District Partnerships Promote Educational Equity?
Paper: The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence From an Ethnic Studies Curriculum Situated in a University-District Partnership
Featured Scholars: Thomas Dee
Can an ethnic studies class positively benefit high school students? This study explores this question, working with high school freshman in California. Results showed that the course raised first-year GPAs of students who were enrolled in the course.

The Impact of State Programs to Improve High School Course-Taking and Decrease Postsecondary Remedial Course-Taking
Paper: Ready or not? California’s early assessment program and the transition to college
Featured Scholar: Michal Kurlaender
Is there a way to help more students arrive to college prepared to succeed in credit-bearing coursework? California launched an early assessment program (EAP) to provide college-level academic preparation to high school students. Results from the study showed that the program reduced the probability that students needed remediation when arriving at college.

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