Increasing Student Success through a Cocktail of Cognitive Interventions

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Mark Hoyert
Kevin Ballard
Cynthia O'Dell


We extended a series of interventions developed in modern cognitive psychology to a group of students who had been academically dismissed and were at high risk to not complete college. Students learned how to respond adaptively to academic failure, how to embrace challenge, how to set realistic goals, and how to persist until their goals are achieved. The interventions were delivered within a sophomore seminar course. Within the class, students learned about, considered and practiced aspects of growth mindset, goal orientation, grit, stereotype threat, and belongingness. Before beginning the class, the 68 students had a mean cumulative GPA of 1.45, a course completion rate of 60%, and it was expected that over half would drop out of college within the next year. Following the intervention, students earned a mean semester GPA of 2.39, a course completion rate of 73%, 72% were retained for the next semester, and 58% were still enrolled one year later. These findings provide support for the benefits of these techniques used together to afford student success in a population of students that have previously struggled academically. ​


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Hoyert, M., Ballard, K., & O’Dell, C. (2019). Increasing Student Success through a Cocktail of Cognitive Interventions. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 19(1).