Students who believe they can get smarter learn more, conclude researchers Susana Claro and Susanna Loeb.
They analyzed data from five California school districts that measure growth mindset for students in 3rd to 8th grade, comparing students with similar past achievement. Those with a stronger growth mindset learned more in a given year than those believed their intelligence was fixed.
Students were asked to react to four statements:
My intelligence is something that I can’t change very much;
Challenging myself won’t make me any smarter;
There are some things I am not capable of learning; and
If I am not naturally smart in a subject, I will never do well in it.
Mindset predicted achievement gains for students in all subgroups, the study found. However, students in poverty, English learners, Hispanics, and African-American students were less likely to hold a growth mindset.