David Snyder

New research finds affirmations reduce achievement gap

Can seemingly simple writing exercises significantly impact achievement among African American students? A new study published in Science seems to suggest that they might.

The controlled, randomized study, which was reported on by Education Week blog Curriculum Matters, followed groups of students in three schools and tracked their performance for two years following a series of writing "affirmations," in which the students reflected on their personal values and interests.

The results are encouraging: African American students who participated performed more strongly than those who did not, and the difference was even larger for low-performing students. The authors hypothesize that the affirmations helped increase confidence and counter stereotypes. 

In other words, as we know around here, emotionally healthy students are more able to be successful—and these interventions provide a promising approach to educators looking to support their students.

How have you been successful in supporting the self-confidence of your students, particularly those who have struggled in class?

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