Dr. Broda examines the impact of "light-touch" interventions

Spotlight on SOE faculty research

Dr. Michael Broda headshot
Dr. Michael Broda

The amount of knowledge being generated by VCU School of Education faculty in published research goes beyond merely enhancing the school’s reputation – it is helping to shape the future of education itself. One recent example of this is the study below, co-authored by Dr. Michael Broda, assistant professor in the Department of Foundations of Education, which looks at the potential of “light-touch” interventions to improve academic outcomes for underrepresented students in postsecondary education.


Dr. Broda and his colleagues Jon Yun, Barbara Schneider, David Yeager, Gregory Walton and Matthew Diemer, examined the effects of a so-called "light-touch" (minimally invasive) intervention on first-year college students' academic success. Specifically, they wanted to know whether a simple explanation of growth mindset (the belief that hard work pays off) would benefit students who historically have more difficulty in college.

To answer this question, the researchers randomly assigned incoming first-year students at Michigan State University to three groups – growth mindset, student belonging (feeling like a member of the college community), and a comparison group. Broda and colleagues found that the growth mindset intervention resulted in higher grades for students who identified their ethnicity as Latino/a, both at the end of the first semester and at the end of the spring semester. This closed the achievement gap between Latino/a students and White students by 72%.

These findings point to the potential of “light-touch” interventions for promoting academic achievement in students who may be at risk as they enter college.

Link to full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2018.1429037


Broda, M., Yun, J., Schneider, B., Yeager, D.S., Walton, G.W., & Diemer, M. Reducing inequality in academic success for incoming college students: A randomized trial of growth mindset and belonging interventions. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. https://doi.org/10.1080/19345747.2018.1429037