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University of Texas chemistry professor David Laude teaches Chemistry 301, an introductory course that had him teaching 500 students. Laude began to notice that 100 or so of those students whose grades were D 's and F 's were falling into a pattern of "adversity indicators " such as low SAT scores, low-income families and many of them fit into racial or geographical profiles

Professor Laude came up with a program he instituted in 1999 in his class. First he picked 50 students that had scored 200 points lower on the SAT and had one additional "adversity indicator ". He took these students and developed a program teaching the same material he took the 50 students into a smaller class and called it the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan or TIP. He decided that he needed to convince these students that they belonged and were not sub-par. The result of the program is that their grades matched the grades of the larger class at the end of the semester. The added benefit was that students that went through TIP had graduation rates three years later that were higher than UT's average rates.

Fast forward to 2012 and Professor Laude was promoted senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation. UT wanted to raise their four year graduation rate to 70% by 2017. He is using many of the methods developed in his TIP program to attempt to achieve that goal.

By legislative mandate the top 7% of their graduating class automatically are admitted to UT (used to be 10%). This creates a diverse student body with nearly 75% of the freshman being automatic admissions.  The law also greatly increases the number of students from low income families and first time college students. Professor Laude teamed up with a new arrival David Yeagar and they ran an experiment on 8,000 incoming freshman. The results were amazing with disadvantaged students having cut the gap between "themselves and the advantaged students in half" all from a 45 minute program.

This really is a must read article in today's NYT Magazine.  The work bring done can help so many students and even has application to family and friends of high scool and college students.

You may read the article here

Originally posted to txdoubledd on Sun May 18, 2014 at 03:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Good News.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Its "avant-garde", not "avant-guard" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Oh my god, it's full of cheese! - 2001 first draft

    by sizzzzlerz on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:01:07 PM PDT

  •  nut graf (9+ / 0-)
    Laude was hopeful that the small classes would make a difference, but he recognized that small classes alone wouldn’t overcome that 200-point SAT gap. “We weren’t naïve enough to think they were just going to show up and start getting A’s, unless we overwhelmed them with the kind of support that would make it possible for them to be successful,” he said. So he supplemented his lectures with a variety of strategies: He offered TIP students two hours each week of extra instruction; he assigned them advisers who kept in close contact with them and intervened if the students ran into trouble or fell behind; he found upperclassmen to work with the TIP students one on one, as peer mentors. And he did everything he could, both in his lectures and outside the classroom, to convey to the TIP students a new sense of identity: They weren’t subpar students who needed help; they were part of a community of high-achieving scholars.
    •  And two more. (8+ / 0-)
      Laude’s most intensive and innovative intervention, though, is the University Leadership Network, a new scholarship program that aims to develop not academic skills but leadership skills. In order to be selected for U.L.N., incoming freshmen must not only fall below the 40-percent cutoff on the Dashboard; they must also have what the financial-aid office calls unmet financial need. In practice, this means that students in U.L.N. are almost all from families with incomes below the national median. (When you enter a family income at that level into the Dashboard, the predicted on-time graduation rate falls even further; for U.L.N. students, Laude estimates, it is more like 20 percent than 40 percent.) The 500 freshmen in U.L.N. perform community service, take part in discussion groups and attend weekly lectures on topics like time management and team building. The lectures have a grown-up, formal feel; students are required to wear business attire. In later years, U.L.N. students will serve in internships on campus and move into leadership positions as mentors or residence-hall advisers or student government officials. In exchange for all this, they receive a $5,000 scholarship every year, paid in monthly increments.

      Perhaps the most striking fact about the success programs is that the selection criteria are never disclosed to students. “From a numbers perspective, the students in these programs are all in the bottom quartile,” Laude explained. “But here’s the key — none of them know that they’re in the bottom quartile.” The first rule of the Dashboard, in other words, is that you never talk about the Dashboard. Laude says he assumes that most U.L.N. students understand on some level that they were chosen in part because of their financial need, but he says it is important for the university to play down that fact when dealing directly with students. It is an extension of the basic psychological strategy that he has used ever since that first TIP program: Select the students who are least likely to do well, but in all your communications with them, convey the idea that you have selected them for this special program not because you fear they will fail, but because you are confident they can succeed.

      •  A Study (6+ / 0-)

        Of what by now will be 15,000 students and the result of the  "UT Mindset " getting the experience of the "belonging " message for disatvantaged students should really help decide how well it works.

        To me the amazing part is how really simple the concept is. Everyone remembers what it was like entering high school or college. It was stressful.  This has applications with teenage gay students and the it will get better program. Every person mentoring anyone should read this article.

  •  NYT article extremely interesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    txdoubledd, worldlotus, kurt

    This is a really provocative idea. I hope they keep on with the program and get lots of publicity for it's good effects.
    Thanks for the link, and thanks for bringing attention to this.

  •  excellent article (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    txdoubledd, BlackSheep1, worldlotus, Woody

    like the subject A requirements of the University of California - it is a p-20 problem ultimately of critical thinking in a variety of fields and sadly higher-education remediates as it has done for decades what is a failure rooted not in a k-12 Common Core curriculum but quality pedagogy critically applied as "sustained work"- it's tools, not test-taking tools

    To do so will take some sustained work, on a national level, on a number of fronts. But a big part of the solution lies at colleges like the University of Texas at Austin, selective but not superelite, that are able to perform, on a large scale, what used to be a central mission — arguably the central mission — of American universities: to take large numbers of highly motivated working-class teenagers and give them the tools they need to become successful professionals. The U.T. experiment reminds us that that process isn’t easy; it never has been. But it also reminds us that it is possible.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun May 18, 2014 at 05:03:06 PM PDT

  •  I've had the pleasure of hearing Dr Laude (7+ / 0-)

    speak a couple of times at U-T, where both my daughters are students.  The most memorable speech was at Parents' Weekend, when Dr. Laude was Dean of Natural Sciences.  He talked about his early failures in college, how he flunked out of more than one college, yet he ended up as Dean of Natural Sciences at U-T.  Very inspirational, plus he's really funny!  His experiences are very useful in helping the students overcome their anxieties.

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