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Continued: Plans to address challenges to student success in STEM at KCC


Continued discussion of plans for a study of challenges to and strategies for student success in STEM at KCC


Goal: (from previous meeting)

Identify obstacles and challenges to student success in STEM at KCC, and determine to what extent evidence-based strategies are employed at KCC to address these challenges


Effects of Mindset on success:

  • Faculty mindset (fixed vs. growth):
    • Revise the language of the survey: use the word “ability” instead of “talent” or “intelligence”
    • Compare the results to average grades in each instructor’s class
  • Student mindset:
    • Compare results to STEM grades and overall GPA
  • Create our own version of the survey in-house


How to proceed

  • Recruit faculty from each STEM dept to act as liaison and participate in this effort
  • Contact chairs (Math, Bio, Physical Sciences) to explain our goal and ask for their support and ideas
  • Review the AMP to see what is already being done to identify challenges to STEM success
  • Connect with KCTL and KCeL to see what they may be doing along these lines


More potential challenges students may face:

  • Connection to the community, belonging and identifying with STEM communities
  • Disconnect between faculty and student expectations
  • Advisement relationships
  • Gender/racial achievement gaps

Plan to study the challenges to and strategies for studnet success in STEM at KCC

At our April meeting, we discussed and formed a plan to identify obstacles and challenges to student success in STEM at KCC, and to determine to what extent evidence-based strategies are employed at KCC to address these challenges.

After having read so many studies identifying such challenges and the varying success of a range of strategies, we decided at our March meeting that we wanted to defient hese factors specifically at KCC, with the eventual goal of further improving students success in STEM at Kingsborough. We felt it was time to move beyond simple discussion of challenges and strategies to more concrete, coordinated, data-informed action. This plan marks the start of that process. The link below is an outline of our plan, to which we added during our discussion on April 30. An updated plan will be posted after our next meeting on May 21.

Summary April 2019

Racial achievement and motivation gaps related to faculty mindset

We discussed an article summarizing a study on the impact of faculty mindset on student achievement, with special attention to racial achievement gaps (link to article below). In this recent study, 150 STEM faculty across 13 departments at a large public university were surveyed (using a validated tool) to identify their beliefs regarding the fixedness of academic or intellectual ability. Course grades for 15,000 students who took courses with these instructors over seven terms were analyzed using a regression model to determine the presence and size of any effect of instructor mindset on student achievement. Students were separated into two categories, white/Asian and URM (underrepresented minorities including black, Hispanic, and native American). Faculty mindset predicted student achievement more than any other faculty characteristic (faculty race, age, experience, gender, tenure status), and was more pronounced for URM than for white/Asian students. The two figures included in this handout (Summary March 2019) are copied from the article and summarize these results, as well as the results of student evaluations for each course.

Mindset and Achievement Gapsl