Removing Barriers to Motivation in Community College Math


At a large community college system in central Florida, 40% of the more than 20,000 students who take developmental math each year don't pass. Similar patterns are found in community colleges across the U.S.

While teaching students about study skills and time management is important, it is also important to foster students’ beliefs that they are able to and want to succeed. How can educators help students believe they can bounce back from academic challenges and persevere through these critical math courses? The Motivate Lab has partnered with math faculty to test whether brief, in-class activities combining growth mindset and utility value interventions can boost students’ motivation and math performance. More than 12,000 students have been a part of the study since 2015.

Currently, the Motivate Lab is adapting and improving its interventions based on insights gained through initial mixed methods analyses from this study and plans to explore students' longitudinal outcomes, such as GPA, major path and career trajectories.

Project Status: September 2015 - Present

Funding Source: National Science Foundation

Principal Investigators: Chris Hulleman, Yoi Tibbetts