An analysis of a nationwide measure of 23,000 students’ perceptions of growth mindset shows meaningful differences in what students believe they can change and a gender gap.
Last school year, David Andrews, a social studies teacher at Piedmont Hills High School (Calif.), noticed something in his students that puzzled him.
As a teacher of six years, Andrews had read the research by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck and others that showed the impact of having a growth mindset on students’ learning and academic achievement. Andrews promoted this belief that people can work deliberately to change their most basic abilities — namely their intelligence.
“Students are so varied when it comes to their mindsets,” Andrews said. “I’m still working to crack the enigma of how to support all my students’ beliefs about themselves.” He would overhear students saying they were good at social studies, but would never be good at math. Other students would say they could always work harder to do better in class, while some felt they just weren’t that talented.