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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Kids build ‘growth mindset,’ lose self-control skills

Girls’ confidence drops sharply in middle school, and all students decline in empathy and self-control as they move through school, a California study concludes.

“As they progress through school, students are getting better at believing they can master challenging subjects, but they are getting worse at managing their behavior and empathizing with others,” writes Kate Stringer on The 74

She cites a recent study of fourth- to 12th-graders California’s CORE Districts, which are working together on social-emotional learning skills.

The districts identified four skills they wanted to teach students — growth mindset, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness — and created a common survey to measure them annually. CORE also partnered with the research group PACE — Policy Analysis for California Education — to measure its progress. . . . While growth mindset increased between 2014 and 2016, researchers found that social awareness, self-efficacy, and to a smaller extent self-management decreased as students progressed through school.

There’s a lot of overlap between self-efficacy (I can do what’s necessary to reach my goals) and growth mindset (I can improve my abilities). I don’t see how one could decrease while the other increases.

In addition, the study found that girls’ confidence plunged in middle school. (Been there. Done that.)

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