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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of Creating Birds of a Feather – an intervention aimed at increasing student success in college

This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief, low-cost intervention designed to improve relationships between college instructors and their students by identifying and highlighting interests and values that they share, with the goal of improving students’ academic achievement.

Grant recipient: University of California, Santa Barbara

Term: 2016 –2020

Principal Investigators: Hunter Gehlbach, Ph. D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Michael Gottfried, Ph. D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Funding: $209,242

Summary: This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief, low-cost intervention designed to improve relationships between college instructors and their students by identifying and highlighting interests and values that they share, with the goal of improving students’ academic achievement. A previous RCT of this intervention, conducted with a sample of 25 high school teachers and 315 of their students, found significant improvements in students’ grades over one school year, with particularly large effects for Black and Latino students.


The current study seeks to replicate these previous findings in a college setting, with a much larger sample and a longer-term follow-up. The target sample in the current study is 150 teachers and 2,500 students. The study will use school record data from the college to measure (i) student achievement using objective end-of-course exams, (ii) future course enrollments, and (iii) college persistence over two years.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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