Research News

Goldrick-Rab writes intriguing piece for Washington Post’s ‘Answer Sheet’ blog

May 01, 2015

UW-Madison’s Sara Goldrick-Rab is the co-author of an article that recently appeared in The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.

The April 19 post is headlined, “What psychology tells us about student achievement – and how it is ignored.”

Sara Goldrick-Rab
Goldrick-Rab is a professor of educational policy studies and sociology, and is the founding director of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the only laboratory in the nation dedicated to translational research for improving equitable outcomes in postsecondary education. She is also a senior scholar at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE). The blog post is co-authored by Geoffrey L. Cohen, a professor of psychology, education and business at Stanford University.

They begin by writing: “When preschool children put on Superman capes they are three times more likely to resist a temptation and wait for a larger reward.

“When ethnic minority students get feedback from their teachers accompanied by a note that says that they can reach a higher standard, the students reach that standard. In fact they perform as well as their white classmates.

“And when poor urban students are taught to see intelligence as similar to a muscle that grows with practice, they achieve better grades and test scores.

“These results from scientific studies in psychology are important because the ability to delay gratification, to learn from feedback, and to score well on tests predict lifelong success in school and beyond. Yet they can be changed in an instant. How can this be?”

But to learn more about this interesting topic, make sure and check out the entire blog post for free on the Washington Post’s website.