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Texas Behavior Science and Policy Institute

The Texas Behavioral Science and Policy Institute (TxBSPI) is a recently established multi-PI research institute focused on using behavioral approaches to narrow inequalities in education during adolescence and early adulthood. Much of this focus will be on the inequalities in access to and academic success in rigorous math by the end of the first year of high school.  This access to advanced mathematics early on is crucial to success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Science (STEM) fields and later academic and labor market outcomes.

The TxBSPI, housed in the Population Research Center, is led by University of Texas at Austin faculty members David Yeager (Psychology), Chandra Muller (Sociology), and Robert Crosnoe (Sociology) and by scientific director Pratik Mhatre. The TxBSPI grew out of two major projects—the National Study of Learning Mindsets, whose goal is to improve academic achievement, and the Texas Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Stress Resilience, whose focus is to improve adolescent daily stress responses. In the coming years, the TxBSPI will launch the Texas Mindset Initiative which will focus on two projects: high school transitions and college transitions. 

The TxBSPi has partnered with OnRamps and the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Science, to identify and implement strategies that transform learning and instruction through the Texas Mindset Initiative (TxMI).  OnRamps is one of the University of Texas at Austin’s signature initiatives designed to expand access to high-quality educational opportunities across the state of Texas.  The College of Natural Science is home to twelve top-ten programs and specializations across math and science disciplines.

The Texas Mindset Initiative (TxMI) is rooted in developmental psychology, innovative pedagogy and a facilitated network of stakeholders. It builds on the innovative work conducted by the National Mindset Innovation Network that informed the National Study of Learning Mindsets study that researched ways to improve student outcomes across the nation.

This initiative will draw on expertise from scholars at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as from across the United States and the world. Within the next three years, the TxMI will develop and evaluate the first generation of scalable instructor mindset interventions. TxMI will do this through programs based on two key populations in parallel: the transition to high school and the transition to college. The Texas Behavioral Science and Policy Institute (TxBSPI) will provide that infrastructure and coordination for these two projects.

For more information, please contact txbspi@prc.utexas.edu.