The SEP has worked intensively with partnering universities to understand how to apply social psychological research in practical, scalable ways to support more equitable learning environments both within and beyond the classroom. The report, Increasing Equity in Student Experience: Findings from a National Collaborative, describes early findings and lessons learned from the SEP and presents future directions for university leaders seeking to systematically measure and improve student experience.
A multi-year national project focused on increasing student belonging and academic success has culminated in a new report from the Student Experience Project (SEP) outlining tangible interventions universities and colleges can implement. The report, Increasing Equity in College Student Experience: Findings from a National Collaborative, draws on a vast data set measuring students’ self-reported sense of belonging and subsequent academic performance. The report also outlines how universities can better understand existing student experiences, address inequities in outcomes, and make changes to support the well-being, engagement, and academic outcomes of all students.
SEP engaged 295 faculty over the course of the project to foster classrooms where students feel that they belong, are valued, and that they can succeed. The project collected feedback from 10,000 students each semester about their classroom experiences. The percentage of students reporting an overall positive experience increased by approximately 10.5% in fall 2020 and spring 2021. SEP efforts were most strongly associated with improved experiences for Black, Latina, and Native American women. The percentage of Black, Latina, and Native American women experiencing financial stress who reported an overall positive experience of their learning environment increased by approximately 25% in fall 2020 and spring 2021.
Data also demonstrated that these improvements in student experience are associated with better grades. As students’ experiences became more positive over the term, their likelihood of earning an A or B in the course increased, and their likelihood of earning a D, F, or W (formally withdrawing from the course) decreased.
At 12 p.m. ET today, the SEP will share the results of the pathbreaking effort during a webinar highlighting the impact of the evidence-based practices to boost students’ sense of belonging and improve academic outcomes. The webinar will feature a panel discussion with practitioners who have led change on their campuses.
The project concluded:
- Faculty are essential and interested partners in efforts to improve the student experience and create institutional change;
- With the right resources and institutional support, faculty can meaningfully improve students’ experience;
- Improved student experience predicts improved academic outcomes and engagement;
To support institutions in advancing their goals to promote equitable student experience and outcomes, the SEP has made the tools and resources developed through this project freely available in the new SEP Resource Hub. The hub includes:
- The First Day Toolkit, an online module and companion resources to revise syllabi to support student belonging on the first day of class;
- The Community of Practice Handbook, a guide to bringing faculty together to improve student experience;
- The Classroom Practices Library, field-tested guides for faculty to implement evidence-based practices to support equity, belonging and growth throughout the term;
- Ascend, a data-driven professional learning program for instructors and administrators to understand how students are experiencing their learning environment and what they can do to make those experiences more equitable, more engaging, and more supportive of student success.
The project is supported by the Raikes Foundation, along with a partnership of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU); College Transition Collaborative (CTC, now part of Equity Accelerator); Education Counsel; Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS); and Shift. University partners for this groundbreaking project are Colorado State University; University of Colorado Denver, University of New Mexico; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Portland State University; and University of Toledo.
On July 13, the Student Experience Project held a webinar to discuss the results of this pathbreaking project examining the impact of scaling evidence-based practices that boost students’ sense of belonging and improve academic outcomes.
The webinar featured a panel discussion with practitioners who have led change on their campuses. Additionally, panelists revealed the impact of classroom- and institution-driven changes to boost student belonging and academic achievement drawing on a data set of 10,000 students’ experiences. The SEP also released a free set of resources that help campus leaders and faculty foster student belonging and growth mindset culture on their campuses.
On April 21, the Student Experience Project released the First Day Toolkit to help faculty use evidence-based practices to revise their course syllabi to advance student success. The toolkit, which is informed by a pilot of nearly 300 instructors from 16 institutions includes a self-paced, video-based syllabus revision module, a syllabus review guide, a workshop facilitation guide, and more to help faculty and institutions easily put the research into practice.
The First Day Toolkit includes:
- An online syllabus revision module with recorded videos to demonstrate practical tips for developing syllabi.
- A syllabus review guide to help faculty revise syllabi to promote a growth mindset after completing the module.
- A workshop facilitation guide to inform workshops with several faculty on syllabus revisions may wish to convene faculty to workshop ideas and debrief the revision process.
- A set of first day practices designed to promote student belonging, equity, and growth on the first day of class after revising their syllabi.
To launch the toolkit, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities hosted a webinar with leaders from three institutions from the Student Experience Project and Peer Learning Network. Click here to view a recording of the webinar.