Developmental Stage

Publication Type

The links between growth mindset and achievement received important new validation from a first-of-its-kind study by Mindset Scholars Carol Dweck and Dave Paunesku and Stanford education researcher Susana Claro. In this study the research team surveyed all 10th grade students in Chile, allowing them to use a national data set to explore the relationships between mindsets, academic achievement, and family income.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Stephanie Fryberg and Mary Murphy that explored growth mindset classroom climates, defined as students’ shared perception that the teacher believes that all students can master the class material using hard work, effective learning strategies, and asking for help when needed. The study uses a nationally representative sample of 9th grade students in regular U.S. high schools.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Andrei Cimpian and Nim Tottenham. The project explored whether and how children’s beliefs about their ability to learn might have a buffering effect against the negative academic effects that are commonly associated with adverse experiences.

The snapshot shares key findings, insights, and future directions for the project.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Xu Qin as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The study, using a novel analytic method, looks into the mediation mechanism that underlies the impact of the growth mindset program used in the National Study of Learning Mindsets, as well as how the impact varied across schools.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Guillaume Basse as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The project investigates whether students who did not receive the growth mindset intervention used in the National Study of Learning Mindsets benefitted from being in contact with students who did. The snapshot offers insights about the design of future research related to peer effects.

Given that countless studies have documented the wide-ranging benefits of self-regulation, determining if and how self-regulation can be improved is an important scientific and societal priority. Existing theories suggest that the deterioration of self-regulation is partially shaped by perceptions of effort. Therefore, one promising way to sustain self-regulation may be to cultivate a growth mindset, which has been shown to affect behavior in part by altering effort attributions. Although growth mindsets—the belief that a given trait can be improved through practice—have been studied extensively, particularly in the domain of intelligence, little research has examined the effects of promoting a growth mindset specifically about self-regulation. Here five studies test how promoting a growth mindset of self-regulation impacts actual self-regulation in daily life and the laboratory. In Study 1, relative to an active control that received relationship training, an intensive self-regulation training program emphasizing a growth mindset led participants to persevere longer on impossible anagrams, which was partially mediated by altering attributions of mental fatigue. Relatively, the self-regulation training also led participants to notice more opportunities for self-control in daily life and more successfully resist everyday temptations. The subsequent four studies isolated and abbreviated the growth mindset manipulation, demonstrated improved persistence and decreased effort avoidance, and attempted to further examine the critical mediators. Collectively, results indicate that a growth mindset of self-regulation can change attributions and allocation of effort in meaningful ways that may affect the willingness to attempt challenging tasks and the perseverance required to complete them.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Maithreyi Gopalan as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The study adapts empirical methods stemming from advancements in econometrics and program evaluation to estimate the effect of the growth mindset intervention used in the National Study of Learning Mindsets on students' learning-oriented behavior (specifically, challenge seeking) and how this effect varied from school to school.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Mesmin Destin. This project examines the relationships between socioeconomic status and adaptive learning mindsets and offers the first estimate of the degree to which perceptions about the nature of intelligence (growth/fixed mindset) are related to both socioeconomic status and academic performance among high school students in the U.S.

The snapshot shares key findings, information on the interdisciplinary research team, and insights and future directions for the project.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Soobin Kim as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The study evaluated casual effects of the growth mindset program used in the National Study of Learning Mindsets, and how those effects differed based on students' incoming mathematics GPA, mathematics course placement, and the fraction of control group students in their school who did not participate in the growth mindset program but nevertheless experienced an increase in self-reported growth mindset.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Manyu Li as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM) Early Career Fellowship. The study analyzed the emotions that students displayed in writing exercises as part of the growth mindset intervention used in the NSLM, and how these emotions related to the impact of the program on students' GPA.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Nicholas Buttrick as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. In a sample of 9th grade mathematics teachers, the project explores the concept of false growth mindset -- a belief that effort alone can lead to improvement regardless of other factors like effective learning strategies and help-seeking.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Alison Koenka as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The project explores two questions: 1) Do academic labeling and mathematics tracking predict differences in students’ beliefs about intelligence, motivational beliefs, and academic performance? 2) Does a growth mindset program (i.e., an intervention promoting beliefs that intelligence is malleable) differentially influence students’ beliefs and performance based on their academic labeling and mathematics tracking experiences?

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Alexander Browman as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The project explores how teachers' beliefs about the malleability of intelligence and perceptions of student ability influence their use of supportive or restrictive instructional messages.

We study the long-term effects of a psychological intervention on longitudinal academic outcomes and degree completion of college students. All freshmen at a large public university were randomized to an online growth mindset, belonging, or control group. We tracked students’ academic outcomes including GPA, number of credits attempted and earned, major choices, and degree completion. We found no evidence of longitudinal academic treatment effects in the full sample. However, the mindset treatment improved term GPAs for Latinx students and the probability for Pell-eligible and Latinx students to major in selective majors. We also found no evidence of increased rates of on-time graduation, however, the treatment raised the probability to graduate with selective majors in four years, especially for Latinx students.

This article reports findings from the largest-ever randomized controlled trial of a growth mindset program in the United States in K-12 settings. The study combined a test for cause-and-effect (a randomized experiment) with a sample that enables claims about an entire population (a nationally representative probability sample). The study found that a short (less than one hour), online growth mindset intervention—which teaches that intellectual abilities can be developed—improved grades among lower-achieving students and increased enrollment in advanced mathematics courses among both higher- and lower-achieving students in a nationally representative sample of regular public high schools in the United States. Notably, the study identified school contexts that moderated the effects of the growth mindset intervention: the intervention had a stronger effect on grades when peer norms aligned with the messages of the intervention. In addition to its rigorous design, the study also featured independent data collection and processing, pre-registration of analyses, and corroboration of results by a blinded Bayesian analysis.

Light-touch social psychological interventions have gained considerable attention for their potential to improve academic outcomes for underrepresented and/or disadvantaged students in postsecondary education. While findings from previous interventions have demonstrated positive effects for racial and ethnic minority and first-generation students in small samples, few interventions have been implemented at a larger scale with more heterogeneous student populations. To address this research gap, 7,686 students, representing more than 90% of incoming first-year students at a large Midwestern public university, were randomly assigned to an online growth mindset intervention, social belonging intervention, or a comparison group. Results suggest that after the fall semester, the growth mindset intervention significantly improved grade point averages for Latino/a students by about .40 points. This represents a 72% reduction in the GPA gap between White and Latino/a students. Further, this effect was replicated for both spring semester GPA and cumulative GPA. These findings indicate that light-touch interventions may be a minimally invasive approach to improving academic outcomes for underrepresented students. The findings also highlight the complexity of implementing customized belonging interventions in heterogeneous contexts.

This research summary provides an overview of an article published in Nature by David Yeager and colleagues about initial results from the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM). The NSLM was designed to understand which kinds of students, in which kinds of classrooms, and in which kinds of schools are most likely to benefit from a short online program designed to foster a growth mindset during the transition to high school. The summary includes key findings and implications for education policy and practice.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Camille Farrington. This project was designed to leverage data collected from a longitudinal, cross-cultural project on the social-emotional brain development of adolescents from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The researchers explored how students’ neurobiological predispositions in social-emotional processing interact with their learning environments (i.e., community and family) and cultural influences to shape their social functioning over time.

The snapshot shares key findings, information on the interdisciplinary research team, and insights and future directions for the project.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Christopher Hulleman and Stephanie Wormington. The project explored whether students’ learning mindsets as they enter college are related to their academic success during the first two years of school.

The snapshot shares key findings, information on the interdisciplinary research team, and insights and future directions for the project.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Sidney D'Mello. The project explores how mindsets and other psychological factors can help us to understand what contributes to students’ likelihood of graduating from college and how are these relationships influenced by environmental contexts.

The snapshot shares key findings, information on the interdisciplinary research team, and insights and future directions for the project.

There are many promising psychological interventions on the horizon, but there is no clear methodology for preparing them to be scaled up. Drawing on design thinking, the present research formalizes a methodology for redesigning and tailoring initial interventions. The researchers test the methodology using the case of fixed versus growth mindsets during the transition to high school. The current research provides a model for how to improve and scale interventions that begin to address pressing educational problems. It also provides insight into how to teach a growth mindset more effectively.

This study examined student and teacher attitudes and beliefs about growth mindset, performance avoidance (hiding one’s effort or refraining from making an effort due to concerns of failure or embarrassment), and academic behaviors (such as completing homework and participating in class) in Nevada’s Clark County School District. Most students reported beliefs that are consistent with a growth mindset. Students’ reported levels of growth mindset, performance avoidance, and academic behaviors differed significantly by grade level, prior academic achievement, English learner status, and race/ethnicity. By contrast, for the most part teachers’ beliefs did not vary significantly according to the characteristics of the students in their schools.

In this study the research team uses a nationwide sample of high school students from Chile to investigate how these factors interact on a systemic level. Confirming prior research, they find that family income is a strong predictor of achievement. Extending prior research, they find that a growth mindset (the belief that intelligence is not fixed and can be developed) is a comparably strong predictor of achievement and that it exhibits a positive relationship with achievement across all of the socioeconomic strata in the country. Furthermore, they find that students from lower-income families were less likely to hold a growth mindset than their wealthier peers, but those who did hold a growth mindset were appreciably buffered against the deleterious effects of poverty on achievement. These results suggest that students’ mindsets may temper or exacerbate the effects of economic disadvantage on a systemic level.

This Research Summary by the Student Experience Research Network offers a brief summary of what we know about Growth Mindset from years of scientific research.

This research synthesis provides an overview of how insights from mindset science can inform the design of educational environments in K-12 and postsecondary education. It describes how students' psychological experience of school shapes their motivation to learn and their learning outcomes. The brief distills principles from 40 years of research on mindsets and motivation about how of learning environments can be designed to be inclusive, growth-oriented, and meaningful.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Barbara Schneider, John Yun, and Soobin Kim. The project analyzed the impact of online learning mindset interventions administered to prospective Michigan State University students in the summer before matriculation. The study evaluated the impact of the interventions on students’ academic performance and persistence and explored the impact of pairing the online mindset interventions with an on-campus mentoring program.

The snapshot shares key findings, insights, and future directions for the project.

The Student Experience Research Network recently launched a new initiative to fund interdisciplinary projects that explore how learning environments shape the mindsets students develop about learning and school.

This brief provides an overview of the eight projects that were funded, including the research team, team disciplines, and primary research questions.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Camille Farrington and Shanette Porter. The project leveraged a rich dataset that was designed to compare individual students to themselves across two different classroom environments. The research team completed a detailed analysis of classroom learning environments, identifying aspects of teacher practice, teacher mindsets, and classroom composition factors that were related to students’ perceptions of the environment.

The snapshot shares key findings, insights, and future directions for the project.

This paper was prepared for a White House meeting on academic mindsets in May 2013. The authors review recent research findings and put forth an R&D agenda focused on principles (understanding how to maximize the effects of mindset interventions); practices (expanding the toolkit of day-to-day practices that instill adaptive mindsets; and assessments (developing measures that allow for more rapid learning from practice).

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Sidney D'Mello, Angela Duckworth, Margo Gardner, and Donald Kamentz. The project analyzed language used by students in their college applications to explore the connections between extra-curricular/work experiences, psychological factors, and college success (as measured by graduating within four or six years).

The snapshot shares key findings, insights, and future directions for the project.

A growth mindset is the belief that human capacities are not fixed but can be developed over time, and mindset research examines the power of such beliefs to influence human behavior. This article offers two personal perspectives on mindset research across two eras. Given recent changes in the field, the authors represent different generations of researchers, each focusing on different issues and challenges, but both committed to “era-bridging” research. The first author traces mindset research from its systematic examination of how mindsets affect challenge seeking and resilience, through the ways in which mindsets influence the formation of judgments and stereotypes. The second author then describes how mindset research entered the era of field experiments and replication science, and how researchers worked to create reliable interventions to address underachievement—including a national experiment in the United States. The authors conclude that there is much more to learn but that the studies to date illustrate how an era-bridging program of research can continue to be generative and relevant to new generations of scholars.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Geoff Cohen and Tanner LeBaron Wallace. In this project, the researchers examined how teachers weave messages of growth, belonging, purpose, and affirmation (or their opposite) into their day-to-day practice, as well as whether creating learning environments that may support adaptive learning mindsets through these verbal messages is related to teachers’ ability to promote gains in students’ math achievement.

The snapshot shares key findings, information on the interdisciplinary research team, and insights and future directions for the project.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Eunjin Seo as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The study investigates the extent to which 9th grade students' self-reported concerns about racial/ethnic and gender stereotypes in mathematics predict mathematics anxiety, challenge avoidance, and achievement, as well as how fixed mindset beliefs play into these relationships.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Nigel Bosch as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. Using sophisticated machine learning methods, the study examines reasons why the growth mindset intervention used in the National Study of Learning Mindsets may have been more or less effective (as measured by GPA improvement) in different contexts.

Students from higher–socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds show a persistent advantage in academic outcomes over lower-SES students. It is possible that students’ beliefs about academic ability, or mindsets, play some role in contributing to these disparities. Data from a recent nationally representative sample of ninth-grade students in U.S. public schools provided evidence that higher SES was associated with fewer fixed beliefs about academic ability (a group difference of .22 standard deviations). Also, there was a negative association between a fixed mindset and grades that was similar regardless of a student’s SES. Finally, student mindsets were a significant but small factor in explaining the existing relationship between SES and achievement. Altogether, mindsets appear to be associated with socioeconomic circumstances and academic achievement; however, the vast majority of the existing socioeconomic achievement gap in the U.S. is likely driven by the root causes of inequality.

This Research Summary by the Student Experience Research Network offers a brief summary of what we know about learning mindsets from years of scientific research.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Matthew Kraft. The project leveraged a large sample of students in the California CORE districts to examine how feelings of belonging in school affect academic, behavioral, and social-emotional experiences and outcomes.

The snapshot shares key findings, information on the interdisciplinary research team, and insights and future directions for the project.

The National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM) is a randomized trial evaluating an intervention in a national sample of schools that were selected to participate via probability sampling methods. The response rate for this study was 56%. This paper evaluates whether site-level non-response compromises the generalizability of the results from the achieved sample of schools in the NSLM. Comparisons of characteristics of schools taking part in the NSLM relative to national benchmarks shows that the NSLM sample has a high degree of similarity to the population of all regular, U.S. public high schools with at least 25 students in 9th grade and in which 9th grade is the lowest grade, via two metrics. Thus, full-sample estimates and conditional estimates (within school achievement and racial composition subgroups) are likely to be highly generalizable to the corresponding populations of inference.

Children’s intelligence mind-sets (i.e., their beliefs about whether intelligence is fixed or malleable) robustly influence their motivation and learning. Yet, surprisingly, research has not linked parents’ intelligence mind-sets to their children’s. We tested the hypothesis that a different belief of parents—their failure mind-sets—may be more visible to children and therefore more prominent in shaping their beliefs. Overall, parents who see failure as debilitating focus on their children’s performance and ability rather than on their children’s learning, and their children, in turn, tend to believe that intelligence is fixed rather than malleable.

How well people bounce back from mistakes depends on their beliefs about learning and intelligence. For individuals with a growth mind-set, who believe intelligence develops through effort, mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and improve. For individuals with a fixed mind-set, who believe intelligence is a stable characteristic, mistakes indicate lack of ability. We examined performance-monitoring event-related potentials (ERPs) to probe the neural mechanisms underlying these different reactions to mistakes. Findings revealed that a growth mind-set was associated with enhancement of the error positivity component (Pe), which reflects awareness of and allocation of attention to mistakes. More growth-minded individuals also showed superior accuracy after mistakes compared with individuals endorsing a more fixed mind-set. It is critical to note that Pe amplitude mediated the relationship between mind-set and posterror accuracy. These results suggest that neural mechanisms indexing on-line awareness of and attention to mistakes are intimately involved in growth-minded individuals' ability to rebound from mistakes.

The authors describe several social psychological factors that affect student motivation and learning. They describe the properties of instructional practices and schools that appear to foster student mindsets, tenacity, and performance.

This article reviews research demonstrating that when adolescents believe that intellectual abilities and social attributes can be developed, they tend to show higher achievement across challenging school transitions, and reduced stress and aggression in response to bullying and exclusion. The authors suggest ideas for how educators can foster these mindsets that promote resilience in educational settings.

There is growing agreement that scores on standardized tests of academic skills are incomplete measures of the important things that students learn from their teachers. This report relies upon data from over 300,000 Tripod student surveys administered in more than 16,000 sixth to ninth grade classrooms, 490 schools, 26 districts, 14 states, and in all major regions of the nation during the 2013-14 school year. The report concerns the influence of teaching on agency-related factors, defined as emotions, motivations, mindsets, and behaviors associated with personal agency.

The report uses classroom-specific student responses concerning the Tripod 7Cs™ of effective teaching—care, confer, captivate, clarify, consolidate, challenge, and classroom management. The central finding is that the 7Cs predict untested agency-related factors in nuanced and interesting ways. For example, while previous research found that challenge and classroom management are the strongest predictors of reading and math test score gains, the new study finds that care and captivate are the strongest predictors of whether a teacher inspires college aspirations. Based upon an extensive statistical analysis, the report identifies some teaching practices that are agency boosters, and others that are agency dampers. It distills ten implications for teaching to cultivate agency.

Recent scientific evidence demonstrates both the incredible potential of the brain to grow and change and the powerful impact of growth mindset messages upon students’ attainment. Schooling practices, however, particularly in England, are based upon notions of fixed ability thinking which limits students’ attainment and increases inequality. This article reviews evidence for brain plasticity, the importance of mindset and the ways that mindset messages may be communicated through classroom and grouping practices.

Many strides have been made to promote gender equity in the workplace, but women are still significantly under-represented in leadership roles in corporate America. Researchers Katherine T.U. Emerson & Mary C. Murphy designed three studies to observe how women's experiences at work are affected by mindsets promoted by the organizations.

Carol Dweck's career has been devoted to understanding the nature, workings, and development of children's motivation. This paper outlines the trajectory of her research including research on motivation in animals; the motivational impact of children's attributions, achievement goals, and mindsets about their abilities; how socialization practices affect these mindsets; how interventions that change children's mindsets can enhance their motivation and learning. In addition, she outlines a new theory that puts motivation and the formation of mindsets (or beliefs) at the heart of social and personality development.

Restoring and protecting a sense of belonging for Black, Brown, and poor youth remains at the heart of social justice in U.S. schools. Drawing on research and lived experiences as an educator, Dr. Jamaal Matthews discusses mindsets and practices teachers can develop to assuage the assault against belonging and become proactive in restoring equity and opportunity in mathematics classrooms that serve historically disenfranchised students. This paper highlights the critical mindsets necessary for enacting and sustaining equity-based teaching practices. Next, it provides instructional strategies embedded within two high-leverage practices (i.e., coordinating and adjusting instruction for connection to students’ lives and analyzing instruction for the purpose of improving it) aimed at supporting teachers in understanding the significance of belonging beyond simply building classroom community, and in becoming aware of their power to promote belonging through their instructional choices and practices.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project led by Katie McLaughlin and Rob Crosnoe. The project explores whether exposure to common forms of childhood adversity is associated with children’s learning mindsets, including growth mindset, sense of belonging at school, perceived utility value of school, and purpose for learning, as well as how these associations vary across different types of adversity.

The snapshot shares key findings, insights, and future directions for the project.

Being suspended from school has been shown to have numerous detrimental long-term effects, as well, including adult unemployment and increased likelihood of incarceration. While there are many factors that influence student behavior, the quality of students’ relationships with their teachers is one of the strongest predictors of classroom behavior. Researchers Jason Okonofua, Dave Paunesku, and Gregory Walton explored whether a short program designed to influence teachers’ mindsets about student behavior and discipline could lead to changes in the way teachers interacted with students and whether these changes in teachers’ behavior could, in turn, positively affect students’ classroom experience and behavior.

This research brief summarizes three studies that explore whether online exercises delivered before college can effectively prepare students for certain challenges they may face during the transition to college. The studies found that these programs were able to improve educational outcomes and decrease achievement gaps between African American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, first-generation students and their peers.

How do mindsets matter in the field of medicine and public health? This article provides an overview of the research that has been done in this field so far and the ways that implementing mindset science into medical practice could provide new means by which pediatricians may improve the lives of children.

This Research Brief presents findings from the first year pilot of the National Mindset Study, conducted by members of the Student Experience Research Network and colleagues. The pilot study found that the program improved academic performance for previously low-performing students and increased challenge-seeking among all students.

This research brief looks into how parent practices affect children’s mindsets. Kyla Haimovitz and Carol Dweck designed multiple studies to explore how the way parents view failure influences their children’s views on intelligence.

This report explores the critical importance of “teacher mindsets,” or teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices, in fortifying students’ investment in learning. The authors profile several schools in the forefront of that work, schools that have begun to use the new findings on teacher mindsets to shift adult belief and behaviors in ways that strengthen students’ view of themselves as learners and their motivation to learn.

The original components of the deeper learning framework represent important processes
and products of deeper learning instructional practices. What was missing from the
framework, however, were the motivational components that influence a student’s
engagement in learning. Why and under what conditions might students choose to employ
problem-solving skills or engage in collaborative work to meet a learning goal? The inclusion of academic mindsets in the deeper learning framework puts due emphasis on a crucial set of learning variables.

Researchers Andrei Cimpian, Yan Mu, & Lucy Claire Erickson explore how young children's performance on a task is affected by statements about ability and group membership.

This research brief summarizes a study from Mindset Scholars on the effectiveness of short, computer-based learning mindset programs on academic achievement for high school students.

This research snapshot provides an overview of a project led by Neil Lewis, Jr. and Rene Kizilcec, funded through the SERN K-12 Teachers and Classrooms Research Portfolio. The study investigates the psychological experience of more than 106,000 high school students from across the United States who were enrolled in's Advanced Placement Computer Science course during the 2017-2018 school year. The researchers examine relationships between student demographics, mindsets, and course outcomes.

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This research snapshot provides an overview of a project led by Eric Grodsky and Patti Schaefer, funded through the SERN K-12 Teachers and Classrooms Research Portfolio. Drawing on a sample of 1,887 students and 60 teachers from five middle schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District, the study examines: (1) How is student sense of belonging distributed within and between middle school mathematics classes? (2) How is teacher mindset related to student sense of belonging, academic identity, and student success in middle school in general and mathematics classes in particular? and (3) How, if at all, does the relationship between belonging and achievement vary by student race and ethnicity?

This research snapshot provides an overview of a project led by Jason Okonofua, funded through the SERN K-12 Teachers and Classrooms Research Portfolio. The study employs a randomized placebo-controlled field experiment to test whether an intervention focused on teachers' empathic-mindset – valuing students’ perspectives and prioritizing the maintenance of positive teacher-student relationships – reduces and mitigates racial disparities in suspension rates.

Suspensions remove students from the learning environment at high rates throughout the United States. Policy and theory highlight social groups that face disproportionately high suspension rates—racial-minoritized students, students with a prior suspension, and students with disabilities. We used an active placebo-controlled, longitudinal field experiment (Nteachers = 66, Nstudents = 5822) to test a scalable “empathic-mindset” intervention, a 45- to 70-min online exercise to refocus middle school teachers on understanding and valuing the perspectives of students and on sustaining positive relationships even when students misbehave. In preregistered analyses, this exercise reduced suspension rates especially for Black and Hispanic students, cutting the racial disparity over the school year from 10.6 to 5.9 percentage points, a 45% reduction. Significant reductions were also observed for other groups of concern. Moreover, reductions persisted through the next year when students interacted with different teachers, suggesting that empathic treatment with even one teacher in a critical period can improve students’ trajectories through school.

This research snapshot provides an overview of an MSN funded project by Thomas Dee and Emily Penner that analyzed the impact of the African American Male Achievement (AAMA) program in Oakland, California. The AAMA is the first program in the nation to embed a culturally-centered curriculum specifically targeted to black male students into the regular school day at the district level. The study used data from a 12-year period to assess the program's impact on high school persistence.

The snapshot shares key findings, insights, and future directions for the project.


Grades often decline during the high school transition, creating stress. The present research integrates the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat with the implicit theories model to understand who shows maladaptive stress responses. A diary study measured declines in grades in the first few months of high school: salivary cortisol and daily stress appraisals. Students who reported a fixed mindset showed higher cortisol when grades were declining. Moreover, daily academic stressors showed a different lingering effect on the next day's cortisol for those with different implicit theories. Findings support a process model through which beliefs affect biological stress responses during difficult adolescent transitions.

This infographic describes how teachers can create learning environments that can support growth-oriented messages.

An important goal of the scientific community is broadening the achievement and participation of racial minorities in STEM fields. Yet, professors’ beliefs about the fixedness of ability may be an unwitting and overlooked barrier for stigmatized students. Results from a longitudinal university-wide sample (150 STEM professors and more than 15,000 students) revealed that the racial achievement gaps in courses taught by more fixed mindset faculty were twice as large as the achievement gaps in courses taught by more growth mindset faculty. Course evaluations revealed that students were demotivated and had more negative experiences in classes taught by fixed (versus growth) mindset faculty. Faculty mindset beliefs predicted student achievement and motivation above and beyond any other faculty characteristic, including their gender, race/ethnicity, age, teaching experience, or tenure status. These findings suggest that faculty mindset beliefs have important implications for the classroom experiences and achievement of underrepresented minority students in STEM.

Many students find math difficult, but those who are intrinsically motivated learn and do well even when they face obstacles. Here, the authors examine an environmental factor that might affect students' intrinsic motivation in math: namely, teachers' beliefs about success in math. Do teachers perceive elementary school math as a domain that requires an innate ability, and does this belief relate to students' intrinsic motivation in math? Our study explored these questions in a sample of 830 German fourth graders and their 56 teachers. Teachers reported stronger beliefs in the role of innate ability for math than for German language arts. In addition, the more teachers believed that math requires innate ability, the lower was the intrinsic motivation of their low-achieving students. These results suggest that teachers’ beliefs that math success depends on innate ability may be an important obstacle to creating a classroom atmosphere that fosters engagement and learning for all students.

People are often told to find their passion as though passions and interests are pre-formed and must simply be discovered. This idea, however, has hidden motivational implications. Five studies examined implicit theories of interest—the idea that personal interests are relatively fixed (fixed theory) or developed (growth theory). Whether assessed or experimentally induced, a fixed theory was more likely to dampen interest in areas outside people’s existing interests (Studies 1–3). Those endorsing a fixed theory were also more likely to anticipate boundless motivation when passions were found, not anticipating possible difficulties (Study 4). Moreover, when engaging in a new interest became difficult, interest flagged significantly more for people induced to hold a fixed than a growth theory of interest (Study 5). Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.

A recent set of studies (Muenks, Miele, & Wigfield, 2016) introduced the concept of perceived effort source to better explain how students reason about the relation between effort and ability when evaluating the academic abilities of other students. These studies showed that participants who were induced to perceive effort as task-elicited (i.e., as being primarily due to the subjective difficulty of the task) were more likely to view effort and ability as inversely related than participants who were induced to perceive effort as self-initiated (i.e., as being due to students’ motivation to go beyond the basic demands of the task). The current studies expanded on this research by demonstrating that, in the absence of an effort source manipulation, college students spontaneously invoked beliefs about the source of effort when evaluating their own (Study 2) and other students’ (Studies 1–3) abilities. The three studies also showed that our novel measure of individual differences in effort source beliefs was a better predictor of participants’ judgments of math ability (Studies 1 and 2) and verbal ability (Study 3) than a standard measure of their ability mindsets (i.e., beliefs about the extent to which intelligence is malleable). Specifically, participants who naturally tended to perceive effort as task-elicited generally rated students who expended relatively little effort as having more ability than did participants who tended to perceive effort as self-initiated. Implications for research on student motivation and for education practice are discussed.

This research brief provides an overview of a paper by Parker Goyer, Geoffrey Cohen, Jason Okonofua, Gregory Walton, and colleagues, exploring recursive cycles between students and teachers that are fueled by harmful stereotypes that allege that black and Latino boys are "troublemakers," and that lead to disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline for these groups. The brief outlines two studies in which the researchers used interventions to affirm students' identities and provided students an alternate narrative with which to understand interactions with teachers. The brief describes the study design, key findings, and implications.

This research snapshot summarizes a project led by Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi as part of the National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship. The project examines implicit bias among 9th grade mathematics teachers using the Affect Misattribution Procedure.

Carol Dweck describes this article as charting her evolution "from a researcher doing basic research with little thought of direct application to a researcher and writer with a mission to use what I learn for the benefit of individuals and, I hope, of society itself." She lays out current challenges and opportunities in translating social science into usable interventions and practices for students and teachers.

In this article, Angela Duckworth describes what led her to co-found Character Lab and the lessons learned by the organization. Character Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children thrive using psychological science. Character Lab pursues three specific initiatives. First, the organization makes it easier for scientists to carry out applied research with school-age children. Second, Character Lab conducts interdisciplinary research, partnering with teachers, athletic coaches, artists, and other outside-the-academic-box thinkers to create interventions that build character strengths. Third, Character Lab translates insights from research into actionable advice for teachers and parents.

Growing suspension rates predict major negative life outcomes, including adult incarceration and unemployment. The first experiment tested whether teachers could be encouraged to adopt an empathic rather than punitive mindset about discipline—to value students’ perspectives and sustain positive relationships while encouraging better behavior. The second tested whether an empathic response to misbehavior would sustain students’ respect for teachers and motivation to behave well in class. These hypotheses were confirmed. Finally, a randomized field experiment tested a brief, online intervention to encourage teachers to adopt an empathic mindset about discipline. Evaluated at five middle schools in three districts, this intervention halved year-long student suspension rates and bolstered respect the most at-risk students, previously suspended students, perceived from teachers. Teachers’ mindsets about discipline directly affect the quality of teacher– student relationships and student suspensions and, moreover, can be changed through scalable intervention.

The extent to which socially-assigned and culturally mediated social identity affects health depends on contingencies of social identity that vary across and within populations in day-to-day life. These contingencies are structurally rooted and health damaging inasmuch as they activate physiological stress responses. They also have adverse effects on cognition and emotion, undermining self-confidence and diminishing academic performance. This impact reduces opportunities for social mobility, while ensuring those who "beat the odds" pay a physical price for their positive efforts. Recent applications of social identity theory toward closing racial, ethnic, and gender academic achievement gaps through changing features of educational settings, rather than individual students, have proved fruitful.

The researchers explicate an emergent framework, Jedi Public Health (JPH). JPH focuses on changing features of settings in everyday life, rather than individuals, to promote population health equity, a high priority, yet, elusive national public health objective. Policies and interventions to remove and replace discrediting cues in everyday settings hold promise for disrupting the repeated physiological stress process activation that fuels population health inequities with potentially wide application.

Despite facing daunting odds of academic success compared with their more socioeconomically advantaged peers, many students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds maintain high levels of academic motivation and persist in the face of difficulty. The researchers propose that for these students, academic persistence may hinge on their perceptions of socioeconomic mobility, or their general beliefs regarding whether or not socioeconomic mobility—a powerful academic motivator—can occur in their society. Specifically, low-SES students' desire to persist on a primary path to mobility (i.e., school) should remain strong if they believe that socioeconomic mobility can occur in their society. By contrast, those who believe that socioeconomic mobility generally does not occur should be less motivated to persist academically. One correlational and two experimental studies provide support for this hypothesis among low (but not high) SES high school and university students. Implications for future intervention efforts are discussed.

This research summary brief provides an overview of a paper by Greg Walton and Tim Wilson, exploring how wise interventions can improve outcomes and implications for policy and practice across a broad range of domains. The brief shares a background on what wise interventions are, how they work, and the ways they can be used to improve outcomes.

Researchers commonly interpret effect sizes by applying benchmarks proposed by Cohen over a half century ago. However, effects that are small by Cohen’s standards are often large in the context of field-based education interventions. This focus on magnitude also obscures important differences in study features, program costs, and scalability. This paper proposes a new framework for interpreting effect sizes of education interventions, which consists of five broadly applicable guidelines and a detailed schema for interpreting effects from causal studies with standardized achievement outcomes. The schema introduces new effect-size and cost benchmarks, while also considering program scalability. Together, the framework provides scholars and research consumers with an empirically-based, practical approach for interpreting the policy importance of effect sizes from education interventions.

Having surveyed the history and methods of meta-regression in a previous paper, in this paper the authors review which and how meta-regression methods are applied in recent research syntheses. To do so, they review studies published in 2016 across four leading research synthesis journals: Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Applied Psychology, Review of Education Research, and the Cochrane Library. They find that the best practices defined in the previous review are rarely carried out in practice. In light of the identified discrepancies, they consider how to move forward, first by identifying areas where further methods development is needed to address persistent problems in the field, and second by discussing how to more effectively disseminate points of methodological consensus.

Psychological theories often locate the problem of prejudice within people. However, prejudice stems from both people and places. Prejudiced contexts are places with predictable, systematic inequalities in experience and outcomes based on people’s social group memberships—advantaging people from some social groups, while disadvantaging people from others. The prejudice-in-places model illuminates sources of inequality that would otherwise be overlooked and suggests novel avenues for intervention. By understanding how norms, values, policies, practices, and procedures can create prejudiced places, leaders and policymakers can intentionally debias environments so that members of all social groups can flourish in educational and organizational settings.

Researchers and policymakers in the US and beyond increasingly seek to identify teaching qualities that are associated with academic achievement gains for K-12 students through effectiveness studies. Yet teaching quality varies with academic content and social contexts, involves multiple participants, and requires a range of skills, knowledge, and dispositions. In this essay, we address the inescapable tension between complexity and scale in research on teaching effectiveness. We provide five recommendations to study designers and analysts to manage this tension to enhance effectiveness research, drawing on our recent experiences as the first external analysts of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study. Our recommendations address conceptual framing, the measurement of teaching (e.g., observation protocols, student surveys), sampling, classroom videoing, and the use and interpretation of value-added models.

At the beginning of the development of meta‐analysis, understanding the role of moderators was given the highest priority, with meta‐regression provided as a method for achieving this goal. Yet in current practice, meta‐regression is not as commonly used as anticipated. This paper seeks to understand this mismatch by reviewing the history of meta‐regression methods over the past 40 years. We divide this time span into four periods and examine three types of methodological developments within each period: technical, conceptual, and practical. Our focus is broad and includes development of methods in the fields of education, psychology, and medicine. We conclude the paper with a discussion of five consensus points, as well as open questions and areas of research for the future.

A growing amount of psychological theory and evidence explains pathways between a young person’s socioeconomic background, their identity, and their achievement of academic and career goals. These models provide an important foundation to investigating life trajectories, which can be expanded in 3 specific ways. First, studies can explicitly consider the important role of other social factors that intersect and overlap with socioeconomic considerations, including those related to the experience of race-ethnicity and racism. They can also be expanded to more directly acknowledge the strengths and assets of students from nondominant groups. Last, more research can holistically investigate the connections between achievement goal pursuit and physical health. The current article highlights select empirical studies advancing the psychological study of socioeconomic opportunity in these ways. The article also includes implications for the study of identity and the development of not only interventions but also a reimagining of systemic and institutional support particularly for people who face multiple dimensions of barriers in pursuing opportunities.