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This research snapshot provides an overview of a project led by Neil Lewis, Jr. and Rene Kizilcec, funded through the SERN K-12 Teachers and Classrooms Research Portfolio. The study investigates the psychological experience of more than 106,000 high school students from across the United States who were enrolled in Code.org's Advanced Placement Computer Science course during the 2017-2018 school year. The researchers examine relationships between student demographics, mindsets, and course outcomes.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been discussed as a key to increasing educational equity and bridging divides within and across countries. However, the use of these courses reflects prevailing educational disparities, with more affluent participants enrolling and completing courses. In this study, the researchers randomly assigned participants to receive brief online exercises aimed to lessen social identity threat alongside their course. These interventions increased persistence for participants in less-developed countries and eliminated the global achievement gap.