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A Scalable Goal-Setting Intervention Closes Both the Gender and Ethnic Minority Achievement Gap

12 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015  

Michaéla Schippers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management

Ad W. A. Scheepers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Jordan B. Peterson

University of Toronto

Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

The gender and ethnicity gap in academic achievement constitutes one of today’s key social problems. The current study, therefore, assessed the effects of a brief, evidence-based online intervention aimed at enhancing goal-directed conceptualization and action among first year college students (N=703) at a large European business school. The academic performance of these students was contrasted with that of three pre-intervention control cohorts (N=896, 825 and 720), with particular attention paid to the role of gender and ethnicity. The intervention boosted academic achievement and increased retention rates, particularly for ethnic minority and male students (who had underperformed in previous years). The gap in performance between men and women, and for ethnic minorities versus nationals, became considerably smaller within the intervention cohort. After Year 1, the gender gap closed by 98%, and the ethnicity gap by 38% (rising to 93% after the second year). All groups in the intervention cohort performed significantly better than control cohorts, but the effect was particularly large for males and ethnic minorities. The increase in performance was largest for ethnic minority males: they earned 44% more credits, and their retention rate increased 54%. Overall, the results indicate that a comprehensive goal-setting intervention implemented early in students’ academic careers can significantly and substantially reduce gender and ethnic minority inequalities in achievement.

Suggested Citation

Schippers, Michaéla and Scheepers, Ad W. A. and Peterson, Jordan B., A Scalable Goal-Setting Intervention Closes Both the Gender and Ethnic Minority Achievement Gap (June 2015). Palgrave Communications, Vol. 1, pp. 15014-, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2647142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2015.14

Michaela Schippers (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Ad Scheepers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Jordan Peterson

University of Toronto

Department of Statistical Sciences
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

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