"The Role of High-Quality Subsequent Environments in the Persistence of Education Intervention Impacts"
Competitive Edge Summer Research Program
Symposium Presentation: August 16, 2018
UCI Student Center
Title: "The Role of High-Quality Subsequent Environments in the Persistence of Education Intervention Impacts"
Presenter: Daniela Alvarez-Vargas
Faculty Advisor: Drew Bailey
Many longitudinal studies of interventions targeting the improvement of students’ cognitive skills produce significant initial impacts that diminish after several years. A general explanation of when initial impacts persist and when they fade would be valuable for educational practice and policy but has so far been elusive. One important question pertains to the role of high-quality subsequent environments play in the persistence of intervention effects. A high-quality subsequent environment strengthens retention and learning among individuals who received the successful early intervention, but also increases learning in individuals who did not receive the intervention. Therefore, it is not clear whether high-quality subsequent environments increase or decrease the persistence of education intervention impacts. I will test these competing hypotheses against each other in an experiment in which students about to take an undergraduate foreign language class are randomly assigned to learn foreign language vocabulary words or unrelated trivia facts before the start of the quarter. The foreign language class will act as a high quality subsequent educational experience for the vocabulary condition but not for the trivia condition. At the end of the quarter, I will test whether the vocabulary intervention effect or the trivia intervention effect is larger by assessing the two groups on both the vocabulary and trivia facts. The goal of the proposed work is to develop a theory of when intervention effects will persist and when they will fade.