Hope helps college students achieve their goals, according to researchers, reports Allie Grasgreen in Inside Higher Ed.
A growing (but still small) body of research is finding that students with high levels of hope get better grades and graduate at higher rates than those with lower levels, and that the presence of hope in a student is a better predictor of grades and class ranking than standardized test scores.
While some people are more hopeful than others, college students can be trained to visualize goals and imagine how they’ll overcome obstacles to achieve their goals, say researchers. Now some colleges hope to improve student success by encouraging student hopefulness.
Chaffey College in California, is teaching hope theory to instructors in a summer institute. First, they get a “low-hope syllabus” with challenging assignments and no advice or offers to help. Instructors tell them they’ll probably fail and ignore their questions. Then they switch to a high-hope syllabus.
The training raises faculty awareness, says the aptly named Laura Hope, dean of instructional support. In class, they try to encourage positive thinking.
. . . a comment from a student or professor with a “determinism about failure” – say, “I was never very good at this” or “I knew I wouldn’t do well on this test” might prompt a response of “Well, why not?” or “let’s talk about what you need to do to do better next time.” The student should see him- or herself as the agent of success or failure, Hope said, distinguishing the practice from “cheerleading.”
Chaffey now tests incoming students’ hopefulness “for a longitudinal study to help identify which students might need interventions, and when.”