As one of the key factors for economic prosperity, education is extremely important. From closing the widely-documented achievement gap between African-Americans and Caucasians to educational interventions, our sciences are improving student performance and achievement.

Improvements in Academic Performance

The creation by psychologists, computer scientists and educators of one-to-one intelligent tutoring systems provides new opportunities for effective, interactive, on-demand learning at a fraction of the cost of human tutors. These intelligent tutoring systems teach physics, computer literacy, and scientific reason and have been shown to improve achievement by approximately one letter grade1,2

Society for Text & Discourse » 

Closing the Achievement Gap

An artificially intelligent system created by mathematical psychologists has shown promise in closing the widely documented achievement gap between African-Americans and Caucasians. After a yearlong afterschool math support program, researchers found no difference in math scores of African-American and Caucasian sixth graders. In research on college-level behavioral statistics courses, the performance gap seen between African-Americans and Caucasians in lecture-format classes did not exist in the technologically-based classes. 3,4

Society for Mathematical Psychology »

Academic Improvements

Social psychologists demonstrated that brief writing exercises reminding students of their core personal values improved African-American students’ achievement and decreased the difference between White and African-American students’ grades by 40% over a semester. After 2 years, African American students’ GPAs increased significantly especially among those who were initially low achieving. 5-7

Society of Experimental Social Psychology » 

Academic Improvements

Educational interventions based on social psychological theories have led to marked improvements in student achievement. College students who learned that low grades were typical early in college but then improve showed an increase of .27 grade points and were 80% less likely to drop out of college compared to students who did not learn this information. In another study, low-income seventh graders who learned that intelligence can be developed showed a significant increase in grade points compared to students who did not get this information. 8,9

Society of Experimental Social Psychology » 


  1. Graesser AC. Learning, thinking, and emoting with discourse technologies. American Psychologist. Nov 2011;66(8):746-757.
  2. Graesser AC, D’Mello SK, X. H, Cai Z, Olney A, Morgan B. Autotutor. In: McCarthy P, Boonthum-Denecke C, eds. Applied natural language processing: Identification, investigation, and resolution Hershey, PA: IGI Global; 2012:169-187.
  3. Cheney KR, Craig SD, Anderson C, et al. Closing the knowledge gap in mathematics among sixth grade students using aleks. Paper presented at: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011; Chesapeake, VA.
  4. Hu X, Xu, Y., Hall, C., Walker, K., and Okwumabua, T. A A potential technological solution in reducing achievement gap between white and black students. In: D. Albert CD, D. Eppstein, J. Falmagne & X. Hu, ed. Knowledge spaces: Applications to education.In Press.
  5. Cohen GL, Garcia J, Apfel N, Master A. Reducing the racial achievement gap: A social-psychological intervention. Science. Sep 1 2006;313(5791):1307-1310.
  6. Cohen GL, Garcia J, Purdie-Vaughns V, Apfel N, Brzustoski P. Recursive processes in self-affirmation: Intervening to close the minority achievement gap. Science. Apr 17 2009;324(5925):400-403.
  7. Yeager DS, Walton GM. Social-psychological interventions in education: They’re not magic. Review of Educational Research. 2011;81(2):267-301.
  8. Wilson TD, Linville PW. Improving the academic performance of college freshmen: Attribution therapy revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1982;42(2):367-376.
  9. Blackwell LS, Trzesniewski KH, Dweck CS. Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development. Jan-Feb 2007;78(1):246-263.