Project Title and Abstract

Can a Growth Mindset Intervention Overcome Persistent Messages About the Stability of Intelligence?

Students are constantly confronted with implicit information about their academic capabilities. One pervasive example is evident when students are labeled as gifted or as having a learning disability. Another occurs when students enroll in different math courses based on their “ability.” These policies are concerning because they may reinforce a belief that ability is fixed. Therefore, it is essential to more clearly understand whether they predict maladaptive beliefs and, if so, how educators and policymakers can attenuate those beliefs. This study will investigate the effects of academic labeling and math course ability grouping on 9th grade students’ implicit beliefs about intelligence, motivational beliefs, academic performance, and subsequent behaviors. It will also examine the extent to which a growth mindset intervention buffers the hypothesized maladaptive consequences of these policies. Results will yield timely insight for educators and policymakers about how information about academic capabilities should be communicated to students.