A study conducted at 19 universities found that a brief social belonging exercise, administered online before students arrive on campus, boosts the performance and persistence of students in STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – who speak English as a second language.

Elizabeth Canning.

The study was conducted by Elizabeth Canning, assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, and colleagues in the U.S. and Canada,

Published this week in the journal Science Advances, the study demonstrates that the exercise increases ESL students’ perception that a sense of belonging on campus will grow over time. It also increases the number of STEM credits ESL students successfully completed, as well as their STEM GPAs.

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