Connecting Adolescent Development to College Readiness A REL Northwest Event

I am delighted to be here, it’s a real honor I think in the description of my experience I so appreciate when people call into focus what has been the thread of all of my work, which is the intersection of practice, policy, and research That is certainly a focus of mine, it’s a focus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, but I’m a high school guidance counselor and my grandmother who passed away this past year used to introduce me as a high school guidance counselor from Harvard I then followed by saying if only Harvard had high school guidance counselors supporting all their students. (laughter) So, in fact my identity largely is around how we in K12 set young people up for success in their post-secondary pathways and the way that I have done that has varied I feel fortunate to have been able to do this in higher ed, in K12, in research, in policy, and in overseeing Boston’s GEAR Up grant I come to you with all of that behind me and about 20 years of experience and today what I would like to do is I would like to address this question that was put in your materials for today, which asks, “What does it take to ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to aspire to, plan, and prepare for college success?” I assume that’s why most of you are here unless there’s a meal I haven’t heard about, but that if you are here for the question part this is the question that drove my work and continues to drive what I do today It started in a position I had, my very first position as a high school guidance counselor for ninth graders in a high school in Boston I was hired as the first ever ninth grade counselor by a headmaster who said I want you to provide early college awareness to students I figured how hard can that be, I was just out of graduate school and figured I’d figure it out along the way, but I needed a job and so one of the things that I did when I started my work is I would bring the ninth graders into our new college and career center, brand new space with banners and information and tables and all the sorts of things that we know young people need to aspire to and plan for college I’d start these workshops with about 30 students by saying, “How many of you want to go to college?” and like I think most of you would expect about 30 hands would fly up in the air and I’d take a moment and either think to myself this job is going to be a piece of cake or I’d already done a terrific job and the truth is neither were in fact true It wasn’t easy and it was not something I had done, in fact, lots of students came to me with aspirations of wanting to go to college, they knew that was the right answer They had heard college is important, but what didn’t take me long to find after that day or week or whatever I happened to have them in the college and career center to find that many of the students whose hands were in the air didn’t come to school regularly, some of them didn’t carry backpacks or do homework, and some of them would not come to the enrichment programs with Boston University or the community college or any of the things that we had in place to expose them to college preparation and yet their hands are in the air as if they wanted to go So, much of my work in my time at this particular high school and beyond has been thinking about what happens between the students who put their hands in the air and say they want to go and their actual behaviors and their follow-through Why is it that the job that I started with 350 ninth graders and ended four years later with 190 seniors 30% of whom went on to college And you know that data, you know how many of them actually received a college degree In this work I begin by talking about college and career readiness and inevitably people want to know what I mean by college So, I start here with John ‘Bluto’ Blutarsky who wears a sweat shirt with college emblazoned on it and you all do know this is John Belushi, right? Sometimes people think it is Jack Black, but those are my 22-year-old students. (laughter) So, John Belushi wears a sweatshirt with college emblazoned on it as if college is one thing and when I give talks people ask questions, “Well, what do you mean by college? Do you believe in a college for all mentality or do you think that not all students should go to college?” And after I have given a talk most people realize that my interest is not in the outcome, my interest is that young people have the skills and the resources and the capacities to make their own decisions about what pathway is right for them It’s not about us deciding which pathway is right for them But to do that we have to know what skills and capacities they need, so I don’t side on either place in the debate of college for all I think we know that college is the pathway to economic security, it’s important for our country, and it’s important for students in the communities in which they live But where they go, whatever that is, is up to them and we need them to make the choices, which leads me to the second thing that’s different from John’s sweatshirt from today and that is college doesn’t mean one thing We use it as a word to describe a post-secondary opportunity, but higher education today is widely diverse with 2-year schools and 4-year schools and community colleges In fact we no longer think of it as a place in some ways with virtual and on-line courses, we have private schools, we have specific professional schools, we have historically Black colleges and Hispanic serving institutions, we have tribal colleges, we have students who go to college at home, and far away to private liberal

arts schools and to local agricultural colleges So, when we talk about college it’s not so much about the where, but that it’s a post-secondary opportunity It’s a much more nuanced and diverse conversation today, but when I use college I mean all of those things; all of the opportunities that await young people And the third and final difference today is that was once relegated to a single person the high school guidance counselor is now work that’s shared among many people It’s shared by community-based providers, GEAR Up advisors, teachers, schools who build college going cultures, churches, families, peers; everybody has taken shared responsibility for making sure young people have what they need to pursue post-secondary education This is not what I mean by college, nor do I mean the experience that Bluto had in National Lampoon’s Animal House (laughter) So what do we know? We’ve come a long way indeed, the field has generated enough research that we feel we have a pretty good handle on what young people need to prepare for college and you know this this is what drives your work everyday This is what drives the GEAR Up programming, the community based college readiness programming; knowing that young people need both access to academic rigor as well as aspirations, information, instrumental supports, they need the money, they need the literacy around finances, and we’ve done a great deal in the past 10 or 15 years to make sure there are lots of things in place; many more programming that ever before I go into cities that say years ago they had federal trio programs like Talent Search and now today have over 100 college access and readiness programs in a single area It’s grown widely to make sure there are policies in place, policies that make it so that the FAFSA is manageable, doable, readable, and that colleges and universities standardize their award letter Policies have changes, schools have changed to build college going cultures, people have changed; there is a great deal in place You’d think with all of this in place we would have come a long way and yet when we look at the population with whom I’ve focused much of my work and that is students who come from low-income communities, students who are the first in their family to go to college, and students who come from minority backgrounds that are under-represented in higher education, we still see students falling off the pipeline, you know this again it’s what drives your work Out of any given ten students who fit the criteria I described we can almost anticipate that at least two and a half of them will fail to complete high school, about five of them will fail to attend college, and only three out of the original ten will ultimately receive a college degree For those of you who have been doing this work, you know who those three people are; those are the three students who are living and breathing college They were in every program, they were in your office, at your door step, they showed up for my Saturday program every Saturday morning at 9 o’clock; those are the students who tend to take advantage of lots of resources And yet what I can’t quite figure out is if there is so much in place is it that we need more, or is it that we need different? The work that Suzanne Bouffard and I have done has been asking that question, “Could it be that we need different or that we need to think about how we do the work and not what we do?” The gaps that exist across the pipeline; there’s a couple of way to think about them Certainly we’re seeing gains in enrollment, but we also know that there are still gaps with regard to degree completion It’s taking longer for students to complete college, they’re over enrolling in developmental education courses, which are costly and don’t carry credits, higher education is becoming more expensive and students are choosing to work rather than take out huge loans Still programs continue to serve overall a small percentage of students, oftentimes I hear people in some cities say, “We’re over-servicing that same students.” I’m not so sure we can over-serve a student, I think they need all the supports that we have available, but as a result there are a group of students who aren’t getting anything and they tend to be the students in the middle The ones for whom it’s harder to show positive outcomes; the students who may not be signing up for all the programs and taking advantage of all the resources Still when we look at that population one thing we can consider is do they really see themselves as a college goer? Do we attribute the problem to us and our work or do we try to understand students differently? When we set out to do this work we wanted to look at what was currently in place and if you look at college awareness preparation program, you can see we paid a lot of attention to academic readiness, in fact for a long time that’s all we talked about Students need academic skills, but we’ve expanded to emphasize the importance of making sure students have information, they know what’s available to them, that we can pay attention to building the financial resources that students need, but all of these things are in fact very important and I would certainly not stand up here and say that we don’t need to give information, that we don’t need to take students on college visits and spend time on college campuses, however, I think what we’re missing in all of this is whether or not we’re paying attention to the skills and capacities that young people need to take advantage of these resources

How do we understand the students who don’t sign up? How do we understand the students who go on a college visit only to leave and feel like college isn’t in fact for them; it only reinforced that they don’t have a college going identity The developmental approach to college going is asking this question, “What’s missing? What else can we add to what we’re doing? Fortunately, we can rely on a large body of research from developmental psychology to understand the why behind adolescent behaviors Certainly doctors all the time rely on behavioral health Doctors need to know what treatments work for what illnesses They need to know if my patient has X what treatment do I give them, but they also need to understand why sometimes patients don’t do what they tell us to do Certainly you might have been told by your doctor to exercise more, eat better, lower your cholesterol, reduce your sugar Lots of times we have information that we don’t act on; this man might have some information he’s not acting on right now, he’s choosing the doughnut, in my case it would be a bag of potato chips; to be clear Cape Cod Kettle Cooked potato chips, just take note of that (laughter) So we all know that making choices is not about having information and I will tell you how many times I had a student come back to me after he or she left Brighton High School and said, “Miss, you never told me …. ” insert whatever you like I often would walk them back to said college and career center and actually reenact said workshop where I said to them the information that they just said I never said Information is not enough; some students aren’t ready to hear it Some students aren’t able to use it; behavioral health helps us understand that Developmental psychology looks at how the research and development can give us clues and to help students make better decisions; to understand why students complete a FAFSA form and never hit submit, or who work on their essay and never send it in Who say yes, yes, yes Miss I’ll be there, but don’t show I used to offer the PSAT at Boston University and I would inevitably have about 40% of the students who signed up show up What goes on between the intentions and the behaviors and that I believe is where behavioral science can give us some clues So with that in mind we offer a developmental approach and in the book, Ready, Willing and Able, that Marcy so thoughtful held up and waved which neither Suzanne or I thought to bring with us today, but it is available on Amazon In the book, Ready, Willing and Able, we talk about a developmental approach in this way and that is if we can set aside time and resources and practices that pay attention to things like identity, the first two areas, envisioning oneself as a college goer and believing in the ability to succeed; seeing themselves building a college going identity in a way that takes into account beliefs and they can set the kinds of goals in the aiming category that are going to set them up for success and we can teach them skills and self-regulation that account for planning and organization and the delay of gratification and all the skills that we know young people need for success in school and we can connect them to the kinds of people; their peers, the family members and other adults, that they can marshal the kinds of supports then we’re paying attention to development We offer this is a cycle intentionally These things build off each other and we can come in in a lot of the work that we’re doing and embed some of what we know from developmental psychology into what we’re doing without necessarily changing the specific practices that we have in place, but doing so with an eye towards development What I would like to do today is to talk about three developmental processes that I believe can influence the work that you do They are identity development, motivation, and self-regulation and I won’t talk quite as much about marshalling supports although in the book we have a chapter on how to marshal the supports of peers and family members and I know Suzanne will talk a little bit later today about family members as well Beginning with identity; many times when we talk about college readiness we talk about building a college going identity How many of you have thought about your work as helping students build a college going identity? A few of you, in fact this comes out of all the research that talks about the importance of aspirations and expectations and if young people don’t aspire to go to college they are unlikely to go In fact, some research shows that if a student doesn’t have the aspiration to go to college by the eighth grade they are less likely to actually enroll Aspirations matter, college-going identity is one way to do that The way that we currently go about it is we make sure that students are exposed to all the post-secondary options, we use college months where we ask faculty to wear sweatshirts or college day we ask people to develop college and career centers where we hang banners and make information available, we do a lot of things to make sure that the information is there and we can raise expectations We build college-going cultures where everyone expects students to go to college These are all important things because they do in fact raise aspirations, but has anyone here ever heard of Erik Erikson? Some of you may have taken a psychology class where you learned about identity development

If I ask you how much you rely on Erik Erikson to do your college going identity work, I would bet you would say not at all, even those of you who knew him, probably because that said psychology class that you took didn’t really connect Erik Erikson’s work of identity development to college-going; that’s why we’re here In fact, we know quite a lot about identity, we know how identity develops, it doesn’t necessary develop because we tell people they can do something Simply telling students they can go to college does not necessarily mean they are going to adopt that identity Just think if someone told me that I could be an opera singer and said that I should go to Juilliard to be a singer, I can tell you that wouldn’t happen First and foremost because I can’t sing, really I can’t sing When we think about identity we can draw on the work of Erikson and Marcia and others in developmental psychology that tell us how identity gets formed So, let me share a little bit of that with you today because we all think about future oriented identities When young people are developing identities, which adolescences are doing quite a lot of by the way, in adolescence middle schools and high schools figuring out who they are takes up a lot of their time, You know this because you see it in how they dress, who they hang out with, what music they listen to, what they do, what they don’t do, the friends they take; all of that is searching for who am I and who do I want to be What kind of person do I want to be, what’s OK and what’s not OK? What happens if I do this and they test out different identities and all the while they’re doing that we’re trying to create college-going identities at the same time The trick here is identity development is about helping students integrate different parts of their identity; they all have different parts, we all have different parts Some people who talk about identity categorize identity into different areas There’s one that I like which is we can think of our identity as the groups to which we belong, our race, our demographics, our gender, our political affiliations, our baseball team affiliations just saying Red Sox fan in the room You can think about your membership in that way, you can think about your identity in a second area and that is the roles that you play in your life; sister, mother, teacher, counselor, friend, partner, and the roles that you play in your work and in your life And the third area is your self-concept When people talk about identity and identity development in particular, they talk about the integration making sure the parts fit together because when the parts don’t fit together or they feel like they don’t fit together to someone they reject the identity What happens for some young people is they reject a college-going identity James Marcia who is the person who introduced this term called foreclosure says, “Foreclosure happens when students reject a potential identity without exploring it, without having information.” Now, I bet some of us here have foreclosed on some careers, I foreclosed on a lot of careers, again opera singing being one of them, and we foreclose on them because we’ve explored we’ve tried things out we’ve examined whether or not they’re feasible; if they are a good fit, but sometimes students foreclose without all the right information which is why we spend so much time giving them information But foreclosure also happens when things or parts of their identity don’t seem to fit together or they feel in conflict and this is where it gets hard Students feel things are in conflict even when they are not Do you remember when there was all the research about young girls choosing careers in science? Young women started to feel that being a scientist was inconsistent with being a female, those two parts of their identity didn’t seem to fit together What our work with identity and students and thinking about building college-going identity means we have to take into account all the different parts of their identity, but also how they draw meaning from it The tricky part is some parts of identity are visible, sometimes we can see dimensions of identity or we might think we see them and some parts of identity development are invisible; certainly self-concept is not something we can see Some students here we can see are female or male or African American or Indian or with disability or Hispanic we can see some parts of identity, but we can’t see it all and even more so sometimes students don’t even see different parts of their self-concept or realize that they are being formed or how important they are to themselves Let me give you an example of how identity and perceptions of identity might play into how someone sees themselves as a college-goer Take the example of two young men both immigrants to the United States; Hector and Ralph Hector immigrated from Ecuador, during the immigration process his family spoke a lot about the importance of coming to the United States for a better life, having the chance for an education, and opportunities for better outcomes For him being an immigrant was very consistent with going to college, for him going to college the dreams that he had were a part of the immigrant experience, and satisfying his parent’s dreams as well But for Ralph who recently immigrated from Haiti has heard a lot about how difficult it is for undocumented students to get access to the finances to go to college and how undocumented immigrants don’t have access to federal aid and

as a result can’t go For him his immigration his immigrant identity feels in conflict with going to college; same dimension of identity, two different interpretations And sometimes we know this because our students tell us how they feel and sometimes they don’t Sometimes their experiences and their identities haven’t been brought to the surface; they haven’t actually stopped to reflect on them Different parts of people’s identity feel important at different times My identity as a educator right now feels pretty prominent, but my identity as a mom felt pretty prominent yesterday when I was saying goodbye to my family at the airport Context changes things and we bring into our awareness our different parts of our identity In our work with students building college-going identities, they need to take into account yes the envisioning, but also the believing, the believing parts of whether or not college can be for me and that means finding out what they believe to be true about themselves and about the groups to which they belong; difficult work certainly When we look at programming and when I look back on my work I think I did a lot on the side of envisioning, I did a lot of envisioning; a lot of inventing what’s possible I did less of the believing I think if I had followed up my question to those ninth graders in the college and career center with the question how many of you expect to go to college I might have gotten a different answer, I don’t know But I think there’s a big gap between envisioning and believing and the belief systems are harder to figure out; they are not as much in our face This where I think some of the work in building college-going identities can take place There are lots of ways to think about helping students integrate the parts of the identity but the other piece that I would like to emphasize is the piece about self-concept Self-concept or someone’s belief in who they are, their traits, their qualities, when I ask students to tell me about their identity ultimately they’ll name things like their demographics, but they’ll say things like outgoing, social, athletic Those are parts of their self-concept; what they believe they are good at Self-concept is very much in play when students are thinking about whether or not college is for them There’s a huge body of research on self-concept, but there’s one idea in particular that I take from self-concept that I believe is relevant to college-going; it has been linked to college-going behaviors And that’s a self-efficacy and to talk about self-efficacy today with you all I’d like to use the example of running because I’ve recently started dong some running with some other people in my neighborhood very early in the morning During our run, we’ve been talking a lot about possibly running a marathon, now as you heard from Vicky I come from Boston and as you know Boston experienced a pretty terrible tragedy last spring, there are a lot of Bostonians who are ready to reclaim the Boston Marathon, I being one of them So the thought of running the Boston Marathon is pretty compelling, I aspire to do it I want to do it Can I do it? I’m not so sure, because it depends on whether or not my self-efficacy as a runner would lead me to then engage in some activities that would prepare me to run in the marathon and not collapse at mile two I think about this marathon example certainly recognize I’ve used this example of the Boston Marathon long before the incident took place last spring, but it’s useful to think about how students build college-going self efficacy in talking about this So, let’s think about it If I wanted to run the Boston Marathon, I would think first can I do it, do I have the skills? Just because people tell me I can do it doesn’t mean I can, doesn’t mean I’ll get up first thing in the morning at five am when my alarm goes off, doesn’t mean that when it’s cold and dark in Boston in February that I will wake up early and leave the house But self-efficacy literature and research gives us some clues into how we help build self-efficacy in students and if we think about building student self-efficacy as college-goers what we realize is it can give us a way to target their self-concept relative to building a college-going identity What is self-efficacy? It’s the belief in the ability to accomplish a specific task, part one belief in your ability to accomplish a specific task; can I run a marathon? And the ability to persist in the face of obstacles, there will be obstacles for students transitioning to college who are first in their family, there will be academic obstacles, there will be financial obstacles, and there will be social obstacles Maybe not all three but there will be one Anticipating that there are means that building your self-efficacy sets them up to believe they can overcome them, that confronting obstacles whatever they may be is not the thing that puts them off the path When we think about self-efficacy there’s two points I would like to make, the first is that this is domain specific, what that means is it’s not like you either have self-efficacy or you don’t Like self esteem either you have high self esteem or you have low self esteem, this means we have self-efficacy in lots of different areas of our life I have very low self-efficacy when it comes to directions, I could get lost anywhere Suzanne knows because we’ve traveled together and inevitable I ask her to walk me places, when I came down for coffee this morning the woman at the front desk said there’s a Starbucks right

here or an Einstein two blocks over one block down and another block over we can guess I went to Starbucks All the things that I do because I have this fear of getting lost I don’t think I can manage myself out of a paper bag shapes what I do and the choices I make The panic that sets in when I see that orange detour sign even though there’ll be ten more orange detour signs leading me Self-efficacy is useful because students may not believe that they have the ability to go to college or be successful once they are there to maintain the academics that are necessary or to transition to the culture of a college student based on what they know about college When we think about self-efficacy and we think ok then how do we build the self-efficacy relative to college going with students? There are four things that research says we can do The first is make sure that people have mastery of experience I ran a 5K and I actually completed it so mastering the experience means I’ve tried it and it went well therefore my belief in my ability to do it is strengthened This is why we put so much emphasis on things like dual enrollment programs where students get to try out college or we take them on college visits The second is vicarious learning; this is seeing other people do it The day after the marathon in almost any city I would bet sneaker sales go up a lot, we see people doing this and we think I can do that I only saw them for about ten meters but still I think I could do what they’re doing This is why we bring in alums to talk to students about their experiences; we want students to see the vicarious opportunities of their peers of alums from the same schools; that builds self-efficacy I’ve done it before and I’ve seen others do it I know what it looks like The third is social persuasion this is the thing we’re really good at; we tell students they can do it Of course, you can go to college you have the skills you can do it this is my husband he’s a glass half-full person on everything, of course you can run a marathon He’s 6’3″ and his legs are much longer than mine And the last one is affect; affect describes the state that someone is in are they in a state where they can truly assess their abilities If their mental health is compromised or they are in a state of stress or they are not well they are ill, their ability to sort of build self-efficacy is compromised Now while all of these things matter to the building of self-efficacy I will tell you that research suggests that mastery of experience is pretty important Giving students the opportunity to try something and feel efficacious about it will go a long way For me, simply watching other people work out of directional challenges is not enough, but every time I manage to find myself through a new city or through a new route it builds my self-efficacy So this is self-efficacy again one concept of building self-concept Going back to where I started a college-going identity building a college going identity includes raising aspirations, it includes making sure students know what options are out there, but it also means paying attention to how their identity is formed, who they are, what the many parts to their identity are and how we help them integrate the different parts of their identity so that college-goer fits nicely and completely with other parts that matter to them; that they are not choosing college-going instead of something else, but in tandem with and it’s in tandem with their self-concept Their self-concept comes from things like self-efficacy and other abilities that we can pay attention to in our work The second developmental concept I want to talk about today is motivation I think this is an important one and if you read Ed Week or you get the Ed Week announcement which I get, you’ll notice that almost everyday there is a webinar on Carol Dweck’s work or Daniel Pink’s work on motivation because we know so much now about how we understand motivational disposition relative to learning When I go out and talk to people who run college access programs inevitably when I ask them what the mission of their organization is or what they choose to do they say, “We want to motivate young kids to go to college.” May be you would include that in the things that you do as well It’s certainly what I did when I was a counselor In fact, we talk about motivation a couple of different ways, have you ever heard someone say she’s just not that motivated or he’s not motivated? I’ve said this, I’ve heard colleagues say this because we are thinking about motivation in a very limited way and we turn to the research on motivation we learn a few things about how motivational dispositions get formed and a few misconceptions are helpful here The first is that people talk about motivation as either you have it or you don’t, kind of like a binary quality; people are motivated have you met someone you felt wasn’t motivated well what we know is actually everybody has the potential to be motivated Sometimes students are just not motivated to do the things we want them to do Students are motivated to hang out with friends, go to ball games, play video games, go to church, help their parents, they’re motivated to do lots of things, but sometimes the things that we asking them to do they are not engaged in doing

and we interpret it as lacking motivation Everybody has the predisposition for motivation The second misconception is that this is something we can give someone I want to motivate you; I’m going to give them motivation The people who research motivation would tell us this is not something you can impart to someone else We can’t give it to someone; we can set the conditions up so that people can develop it on their own The way that we do that however means not just telling people they can do to college, not just telling them it’s possible for them, but paying attention to what researchers call adaptive motivation This is how people who look deeply at motivation think about it: motivation is the beliefs and the goals that drive action and associated behaviors conducive to success and well-being If you see nothing else on this slide beliefs and goals are the most important part of understanding motivation Understanding motivation means helping young people develop the kinds of goals that matter, that will keep them moving towards a particular outcome and developing the belief systems that will engage them in the process We miss the beliefs and goals in a lot o our motivation work; so I’m going to talk a little bit about this today The first part is goals How many of you have seen a chart like this before? How many of you have used a chart like this before? Why do we use this chart? We use it because we want to entice students to want to go to college, right? Look at how much more money you’ll make if you go to college I already said that going to higher education is in fact the pathway to economic security This is true and this does matter, so keep using this chart You all thought I was going to tell you not to use it (laughter), I know This chart is good, but it is limited It’s limited for a few reasons; first it’s limited because if you ever work with young students like those middle schoolers it’s a long way away That associates degree is at least 6 plus years away so getting students excited about something that is not coming for a long time is really quite tough especially if you are going to ask me to do something on a Saturday morning, get up early and travel across the city to go to a program because it’s going to help me in six years? Not gonna happen You want me to not get a job over the summer where I’m going to get paid money cause you want me to go to an enrichment program Cause in six years it’s going to matter It’s a long way away The second reason why it’s a little troubling is because money can sometimes feel intangible; the dollar amounts don’t necessarily mean anything when you’re working with students Sometime it does, but even with good intentions what seems like a lot of money is not necessarily a lot of money and what they would do with it isn’t always clear But the reason why charts like this are insufficient on their own is because it uses money as extrinsic reward It suggests that the reason that students should go to college is because they will make more money setting up only extrinsic rewards for doing so Now certainly intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are things we all know about right? Intrinsic doing things because we take enjoyment, satisfaction; extrinsic because of some reward whether that reward is monetary or social people will like me more or of some other tangible outcome I sometimes find students who come to Harvard University because of the social prestige and guess what not always a good fit for them, but it was a very extrinsic motivator Extrinsic rewards, of course, work sometimes, lets be real Did I mention I have twins who are four? I potty trained them, do you think I used extrinsic rewards, of course I did I used little mini-marshmallows and every time they went to the bathroom they got a mini-marshmallow, which of course meant that they went to the bathroom a lot even when they didn’t need to Because they are stuck with me as their mom they weren’t done after the marshmallow, I also needed to ask them to give me a proud hug or to call someone and tell them how proud they were of being a big girl because while I also want to recognize that they are going to do things for extrinsic rewards I want to build the intrinsic value I want them to also see the intrinsic value of being a big girl who uses the potty When we think about talking with students about the reason they go to college, we certainly can use things like extrinsic rewards, but it is not enough on it’s own and what the research on this tells us is that solely relying on these make it so that when people face difficulties they face obstacles it’s easy to step off the path when the only they are doing it is for an extrinsic reward; if it is not for them It’s not something that they are internally driven to do Some people who study this say that people who are doing things for extrinsic reasons they lack creativity, they’re less involved in it, and they

sometimes can experience it as being controlling I’m only doing this because of this outcome or this reward When we think about talking with student we should help them identity the intrinsic value of going to college of all the different parts of the experience But, of course, if you’ve been involved in helping students take the necessary steps to go to college you know there are some parts of the process that are not all that intrinsically enjoyable Studying for the SAT, who took a lot of intrinsic satisfaction from studying for the SAT? If you’re like me you didn’t take much intrinsic satisfaction from taking physics class either That’s why Deci and Ryan offer a third type, they talk about something called internalized regulation, which is sometimes people may not actually feel the intrinsic satisfaction or inherent value of it, but they attribute the value of it to some longer term goal They can see that though I don’t really enjoy physics class it is essential that I succeed and engage in physics because it is essential for my long-term goal that I want to achieve For me that’s waking up at five o’clock in the morning, that is not at all enjoyable, to go for the run because I like the way I feel when I get home It is central to the long-term goal, it’s in service to the long term goal that I have Talking about motivation means talking about the goals, not if they have goals, but the kinds of goals they have What are their reasons for going to college? This quote comes from a study that some of our colleagues did at Boston College and a student in this study says, ” There’s a difference between wanting to go to college and someone telling you they want you to go to college because when you go to college for reasons you don’t know why then you drop out because you don’t know why you are there You’re going for someone else, it’s like a promise you are keeping that’s not yours, it’s not your own promise.” I imagine that some of you have talked with students who say the reason they want to go to college is to make their families proud; that is certainly a very good reason, but we also want to help students internalize the other benefits of going to college The things that matter to them and there are a couple of ways we can do this There’s one that strikes me as always very relevant Has anyone here read this book, Hope and the Unseen? It’s the story of a young boy named Cedric Jennings who grew up in Washington DC went to Ballou High School, he went on to Brown University, struggled along the way and graduated, he was an engineering and finance major at Brown University; today he’s a social worker for the Department of Children and Youth Services in Washington DC When he goes around the country now he talks about how he originally thought of going to college as a way out of the ghetto, a way out of where he lived and the community he was in, but in fact going to college was his way back in; his way to give back to his community Being a social worker in DC allows him to use this post-secondary opportunity to change his community We can think differently about how we talk to kids about identifying reasons for going to colleges, we have to be careful about having them see going to college as a way out when in fact giving back might be central to why they want to do it The second part of motivation is the belief system; I said that motivation is about goals and beliefs the kinds of goals that students set, but also the beliefs about their ability to achieve them and here I am just going to talk about one thing I’m going to borrow from the work of Carol Dweck and others who talk about a fix versus growth mindset Again, you remember at the beginning I said there are things we can pull from developmental psychology literature that can help us understand students Carol Dweck and her colleagues identified this concept of growth versus fixed mindset; the idea is that a growth mindset is one in which we believe intelligence is not fixed it is something that we improve upon and get better, versus fixed is you’re born with it that’s all you have there’s no changing it What’s interesting about this is that Carl Dweck and her colleagues have done a great deal of research on this and one of the interventions and studies that they did they pulled a group of middle school students into a control group and an experiment group and the experiment group they taught the students that the brain is like a muscle and the harder you work at it the bigger and stronger it gets With the control group they just gave them a lesson on the brain Sure enough as predicted they found that the students who learned that the brain is a muscle worked harder, they engaged in their academic experience differently There were willing to take more risks and followed through on more academic assignments One of the interesting things about her work is not so much about whether or not the fixed or growth mindset exists, it’s not so much about whether or not it’s true it’s the perception of it’s truth that matters When students believe that if they work hard they can get better at something they are more likely to work hard, if they believe that there’s a fixed outcome and it doesn’t matter what they do that if they take the PSAT and get a score no matter what classes they take or whatever they do they’re likely to get the same score The reality here is that we need to teach students to have growth mindsets about lots of parts relative to college going, getting in, getting smart, and reaching their goals We think about motivation which like I said with

college going identity here we see a mouse who says, “You think cheese will motivate me? No, I want mutual funds.” We can think about motivation as goals and belief systems The goal is helping them understand the goals that matter for students, helping them become either intrinsically valuable or internalizing their value for some long term goal and also paying attention to the kinds of beliefs they bring to the process Now I’m not going into depth here and we certainly do more of this in the book, but if your interest is in motivating young people to go to college it means attending to the goals and the belief systems; not telling them that yes you believe they can go The last thing I want to talk about today is self-regulation This is a topic that is also quite popular these days you may have heard about it referenced as executive functioning, self-control or self-management There’s a great new video that is being shown on Sesame Street this season, just in case you are interested, with Cookie Monster singing a song about self-control relative to cookies, it’s actually really really good (laughter) Self- regulation is particularly valuable as I think very much back to many of the things that I did with students relative to their college planning One counselor said this to me, ” After spending lots of time talking about the importance of bringing in her paperwork to the summer program she never did It seemed that no matter what I did she never followed up.” Maybe you’ve had this experience of students who did not follow up with things, who set out to complete forms to sign up for things, but didn’t actually follow through Students need to not just have the belief that they can go to college and the belief systems and the goals to get there they need the planning, organizational, the regulatory skills to achieve those goals, to stay on task Like motivation self-regulation is not something you have or you don’t have Some of us are better self-regulators than others, some of us are very good at organizing You know who you are, you go to the container store and get very excited I have students who come to see me and I notice that their notebooks have all of their assignments color-coded I’m a planner, my husband is not, we are a match made in heaven or there’s some learned helplessness going on, I’m not totally sure, but either way some people are very good at planning some people are good at organizing some are good a delaying gratification, some are good at reflecting and managing their behaviors Self-regulation is a skill that very much supports the college going process as well If you think about the skills there’s not just one skill, but self-regulation largely is the ability to manage thoughts and behaviors in the service of attaining a goal Can I organize myself, control myself, engage in the right kinds of things that will help me reach my goal? Sometimes we think that students have these skills If you study self-regulation you’ll find that self-regulatory skills begin to develop when kids are quite young; two or three or four, but they don’t stop developing In fact they continue developing well into adolescence and into young adulthood We’re still developing self-regulatory skills with students who are middle school and high school and not all of them come with the same set of skills Not all of them can take the FAFSA form home and remember to bring it back, my students it got lost in the vortex that’s known as the backpack They never came back, of course, I am dating myself because you don’t actually send in the FAFSA form anymore, but rather submit it Let’s try this for a second I’m going to ask you to avoid expressing any emotion (Long pause) Self-regulation is what allows us to be in control, some of you had trouble just controlling your emotions; I love that; it’s hard to control For me if you put Jimmy Fallon up here it doesn’t matter what you tell me I’d be laughing on the floor I find him very funny Self-regulation is associated with being in control of what you do whether it’s your emotions; sometimes people have trouble controlling their emotions relative to things that make them angry, sad, happy, managing their behaviors, controlling themselves For my students it’s not opening Facebook or GChat while I’m lecturing I see them doing it they think I don’t know what it means if they do this (laughter) We know that for some people it’s harder than with others; we also know that if you can think of self-regulation as I have in this picture as allowing our brain to be in control this picture shows a driver in the front part of the brain that is associated with self-regulation known as the prefrontal cortex It’s about recognizing the need to be in control so that students can make good decisions to delay gratification, to organize, to plan Certainly there’s been a lot of studies that have looked at self-regulation in academic achievement We know that it’s important for student’s success from elementary school through college,

self-regulation matters, what’s not been clear is how it is linked to college readiness and yet anyone who has ever involved in the college planning process knows you need a lot of organization, you need a lot of time management, you need a lot of mapping and planning for deadlines and tasks Certainly self-regulation matters for all of those things, but it matters in some other ways too It matters in the way that we talk to students about their ability to make choices about where they spend their time, about their choices about how they interpret experiences, how they reflect on what happens when they didn’t do well on the PSAT I’d like to talk a little bit about three self-regulatory skills that I think have direct applications to college readiness The first is planning, as I said some people are natural planners There are two concepts within planning: the first is mental contrasting and this comes from a researcher from Penn named Gabrielle Oettingen She talks about mental contrasting as a skill, a strategy, where students or people can imagine their futures within the context of their current reality That is what’s the future I want and what might get in my way, what does it look like right now? To illustrate this point I use the box of Dunkin Donuts because where there’s a teacher’s room in Boston there is a box of Dunkin Donuts, I can attest to this; it’s kind of like Starbucks around here If I know that I don’t want to eat donuts, I’m trying not to eat donuts, but I know I am going to see one in the teacher’s room mental contrasting is making a plan for not eating them It’s kind of like an if/then statement Teaching students to plan for obstacles to take into account what might happen so that they have the cognitive flexibility to do something when they are confronted with a barrier or when they confronted with the reality For some students, for some people these researchers would argue, they become too focused on the reality and can’t move towards the future I would see this with students who would have babies in high school, that the reality of being a teen mom seemed inconsistent with going to college that barrier seemed too difficult to overcome Mental contrasting is teaching students to be adept, giving them that nimble ability to change to act in the confrontation of an obstacle The second is multiple pathways and I think of this like the GPS system when I need direction for a certain location I am usually given three routes The idea is that there are multiple ways to get to the same place; that kind of cognitive flexibility and teaching students that there’s not one pathway to go to college, there’s not one pathway to a particular career allows them to change route when something comes up that throws them off course Otherwise when something comes up and throws them off course they just get off the pipeline We want them to stay in the pipeline and just readjust; teaching them multiple pathways Think of this, you bring in speakers who talk about their path to college and they all represent the same path what do students hear? There is one way to get a college degree We know that’s not true, there are GED plus associate programs that allow students who have dropped out to get a GED plus an associate’s degree There are many pathways to a college degree Planning is one self-regulatory skill, the second one is reflection or meta-cognition and here I draw on the work of Zimmerman and others who think a lot about self-regulatory cycles What I hope you take from this are not the three words forethought, performance control and reflection, but this idea of having students plan, do, and reflect That is teaching students to be able to reflect on what they have done and whether or not it worked Zimmerman and his colleagues say it’s important that people plan for what they are doing and while they are doing it sort of have this out of body experience where they are thinking, “How is this going?” and then afterwards they reflect and think about what they could have done differently If I use my talk to day as an example, I made a plan for how I was going to prepare, right now I’m sort of wondering how is this going, are people falling asleep, are they checking Facebook, are they engaged, all the while trying to take in data about whether or not my plan worked and afterwards I might say to myself you know what you really didn’t look at your notes very much why don’t you save the paper and not print them out, or that seemed to be a good example they resonated with that example We can do this with students, I once had a young man who works for the non-profit called You Aspire who does financial aid counseling say to me, “Mandy this is all well and good, but how do I teach this kind of reflective stuff all I’m doing is helping students fill out the FAFSA?” and I said, “Well, Adam what happens when said students comes back to see you on your second appointment and doesn’t bring mom and dad’s tax forms?” He says, “Well, I explain to them how important it is that we get the tax forms and how important it is that these forms are completed because without them they can’t get financial aid and the sooner we get it in ….” And he goes on to explain this lecture that he gives to the student and I said, “Do you think the student didn’t know that? Do you think the student had the organizational skills?” What if instead of saying that you asked

them to walk through what happened at the end of the day and talked through what happened when they got home and identified what happened when he asked mom or what happened if he didn’t ask mom at all so he goes home a different plan for how he is going to try to get the tax forms Then maybe he’ll come in with another problem or he’ll come in with the tax forms Asking students to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work, we do this in school all the time When you studied for this test did it work? What happens when you study the night before does that work? What happens when you start studying a week before? Building this reflective practice is just a habit we can teach to students that will serve them in school, in classrooms, and particularly once they get to college The last regulatory skill that I would talk about today is a delay of gratification The delaying of gratification is an important skill, we all know this, this is the thing that helps people put off instant or short term gratification in favor of a longer-term outcome In this case the picture refers to a study done by Walter Mischel and his colleagues at Stanford done years ago know as the marshmallow experiment How many of you know the marshmallow experiment? If you are not familiar with it go to Google and look up the marshmallow experiment What you’ll find is that this researcher and his colleagues wanted to understand the ability to delay gratification among four and five year olds He brought an individual four or five year old and gave him one marshmallow and said “I’m going to leave the room for ten minutes and when I come back if you haven’t eaten the marshmallow I’m going to give you two.” He wanted to understand whether or not the kids could delay gratification by not eating the marshmallow in pursuit for two Sure enough he does his study and he found a couple of things: one, he found that about almost three quarters of the students couldn’t delay the gratification and that by the way putting marshmallow in front of a four and five year old is kind of like putting a cup of coffee in front of an adult and asking them to wait four hours in the morning, if you’re a coffee drinker I should say Another thing he found is that years later he followed up on these same students particularly the students who were able to delay the gratification I should have said that the kids who were able to delay gratification one of the things they noticed from the videos is what they did to delay the gratification, some of the kids started to look away they wouldn’t look at the marshmallow, some of the kids would start singing, some of the kids would pick up the marshmallow and smell it What I’m talking about here are there are coping mechanisms, strategies to delay the gratification What can I do to avoid eating the marshmallow because I want two marshmallows The second thing that he found, as I said, he followed up with the kids years later and low and behold not that you’ll be surprised he found the kids who had strong delays of gratification skills did better in school, they graduated at higher rates, went on to college at higher rates, and got degrees at higher rates than student who didn’t have the skill You might imagine this skill matters It matters for all of us When Suzanne and I do trainings on this topic we often start by putting M&Ms on the table and ask people not to eat them until I get to this point in our talk, which as you can see goes on for awhile The delay of gratification is a hard thing to teach to students and if you think about the context today where students are so adept at getting things quickly They do texting, they get online and they get responses, the college students I study tell me they don’t even use email because they don’t want to wait for someone to check their email and respond It’s GChat or texting, but this is such a critical skill that student can delay the gratification of working, delay the gratification of spending time with their friends in pursuit of a longer term goal in waiting for the two marshmallows When we think of self-regulatory skills I draw off this idea of doing to and for versus doing with Building self-regulatory skills is hard because sometimes it means that things take longer Let me tell you what I mean by this, one of the things I did when students would come to me and they would fill out that FAFSA and then it would get lost in the backpack I thought well why don’t I just mail it for them, then I’m sure it would go in and the stakes are pretty high, but of course if I did that being the developmentalist that I was at the time, but didn’t know it, I recognized that I needed them to take responsibility So instead I started selling stamps in my office, I sold stamps and asked students to put the stamp on and walk down the hall not a very long hall, to the main office where there was an outgoing mail basket Students took advantage of that and I scaffolded it for them I didn’t want to risk that it never got sent in, I didn’t want to risk that it didn’t happen, but I still needed to do something and not counter the fact that they do it on their own I was talking with someone from a college access organization recently who said that they do a lot of support for essay writing One of the things they do is that they print out the essay for students before the student arrives so when the student arrives they can get right to the work of working on the essay; of course, it prompted me to say why aren’t you teaching

students how to plan for a meeting? Well, it’s for expediency as soon as they are here we can get going right away Yes, it takes time, but teaching students how to plan for meetings that they need to print their essay out in advance is a good skill So you’ve undermined their development in that area In thinking about this it’s about how do we do with students, how do we scaffold the kinds of things so we can help them build a self-regulatory skills that they need? We know that if they don’t have them, they won’t take advantage of the resources they have I go back to this cycle in thinking about these developmental skills; I’ve talked a little bit about identity and motivation and self-regulation To sort of give you examples the ways in which we can think about envisioning and believing in a way that is not solely about raising aspirations, but about belief systems and different parts of identity Talking particularly about aiming and motivation in a way that helps us think about the reasons that we can help students go to college A non-profit that I worked with recently used this new example of using a tree visual in the back and having students post leaves on the trees for all the different reasons that people might want to go to college; just to expand the ideas of why you might want to go beyond money Using planning, organizing and self-regulating trying to build this into programming that students can develop these skills Sure some of the students already have them and one of the things I think is important to know is that when kids are little like my little ones who regulates for them, I do, I decide when they eat, what they eat and what they do with their time When students get to college who regulates what they do? They do, what happens in between? Teaching self-regulatory skills sets students up for success once they get to college, it’s not just about helping them get in I’ll end with this slide and say that very often when we think about students we certainly understand that we would never design programs the same way for these two students They are two different people and their chronological age is different I talk to my four year olds very differently than I talk to my seven year-old, what she can understand cognitively is very different but even when working with the same age students we have to take into developmental account of where they are, what their readiness for the information and the support is I think that if we can pay attention to developmental skills in tandem with all the other things that we’re doing; the academic supports, the informational supports that we set people up to be ready to take advantage of all that we have and they are able to act on the information and succeed in college Thank you