Yeager, Walton, et al., 2016, Experiment 3-Critical Feedback: Representing critical feedback as reflecting professors’ belief in their students’ ability to reach a higher standard in an online, prematriculation exercise improved GPA and promoted social and academic integration among minority and first-generation college students over the first year of college
A version of the wise-feedback intervention (Yeager, Purdie-Vaughns, et al., 2014 Experiment 3) adapted for online delivery prior to matriculation in college was delivered in online modules alongside other entrance forms in the summer before students entered a selective private university. Participants were 90%+ of the entering class. In the treatment condition, stories from older students emphasized that instructors in college give critical feedback because they believe that recipients can reach a higher standard. Students read the stories and then wrote an essay about how they anticipated their own experiences with critical feedback in college would reflect this process. As compared to a randomized control condition, this exercise, along with social-belonging and cultural fit interventions, increased the first-year GPAs of negatively stereotyped ethnic-minority and first-generation White college students, reducing the achievement gap by 31%, and reduced the percentage of these students in the bottom quarter of the class in the first year from 50% to 37%. At the end of the first year, treatment-condition minority and first-generation students also reported making more close friends, getting more involved in extracurricular activities, seeking out academic support services more, and being more likely to have developed strong mentor relationships.