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