Project Title and Abstract

Teachers’ Growth Mindsets and the Differential Treatment and Outcomes of High and Low Ability Students

The types of instructional practices that teachers employ in their classrooms can vary greatly and have different and important effects on student motivation and outcomes. The goal of this project is to enhance our understanding of the likelihood that teachers will employ certain type of practices, in three ways. First, we hypothesize that teachers with weaker growth mindsets will be more likely to endorse restrictive (controlling and performance-oriented) practices and less likely to endorse supportive (autonomy-supportive and mastery-oriented) practices with students whom they perceive as lower in ability than teachers with stronger growth mindsets. Second, we expect that this variation in the treatment of lower-ability students in the classrooms of teachers with weaker growth mindsets will exacerbate mindset and outcome gaps between lower- and higher-ability students. Finally, we will test whether a growth mindset intervention for students can reduce these effects in the classrooms of teachers with weaker growth mindsets.