Growth mindset is everywhere these days. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research showing that a growth mindset can help children to overcome academic struggles is being incorporated to curriculum planning across the U.S. and in many other countries, and school districts in California are even using it to evaluate schools’ performance. I get ads popping up in my Facebook feed every day for a journal that helps children to develop a growth mindset, and judging from the comments those folks selling the journal are doing very nicely for themselves.
Which means that the science underlying the idea of growth mindset must be rock solid, right?
Well, perhaps you might be surprised (or not, if you’re a regular listener) to know that this actually isn’t the case. The main study on which the entire growth mindset theory is based has never been replicated, which is the gold standard for considering whether an effect that was found in a study is really real. And a variety of subsequent studies supporting the findings of the original one were either so tiny as to be not useful or failed to find any relevant effect (although in some cases they went on to report their findings as if they did…).
We’ll tease all this out in the episode, and will discuss whether growth mindset is something worth fostering in your child.
Other shows mentioned in this episode
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Boykin, A.W., Albury, A., Tyler, K.M., Hurley, E.A., Bailey, C.T., & Miller, O.A. (2005). Culture-based perceptions of academic achievement among low-income elementary students. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 11, 339-50.
Briggs, D.C. (1970). Your child’s self-esteem. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
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Chivers, T. (2017, January 14). A mindset “revolution” sweeping Britain’s classes may be based on shaky science. BuzzFeed. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/what-is-your-mindset?utm_term=.oo0Razv2n#.ht5JOoZv9
Cimpian, A., Mu, Y., & Erickson, L.C. (2012). Who is good at this game? Linking an activity to a social category undermines children’s achievement. Psychological Science 23(5), 533-541.
Claro, S., Paunesku, D., & Dweck, C.S. (2016). Growth mindset tempers the effects of poverty on academic mindset. PNAS 113(31), 8664-8668.
Diener, C.I., & Dweck, C.S. (1978). An analysis of learned helplessness: Continuous changes in performance, strategy, and achievement cognitions following failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 36(5), 451-462. Full article available at http://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/dw1978_achievement.pdf
Duckworth, A.L., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological Science 16, 939-944.
Dweck, C.S., Walton, G.M., & Cohen, G.L. (2014). Academic tenacity: Mindsets and skills that promote long-term learning. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Full report available at https://ed.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/manual/dweck-walton-cohen-2014.pdf
Dweck, C.S., & Reppucci, N.D. (1973). Learned helplessness and reinforcement responsibility in children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 25(1), 109-116. Full article available at http://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/dweck73_reinforcement.pdf
Dweck, C.S. (1975). The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 31(4), 674-685. Full article available at http://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/dw1975_attributions.pdf
Educuation Week (2016). Mindset in the classroom: A national study of K-12 teachers. Author. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/media/ewrc_mindsetintheclassroom_sept2016.pdf
Edwards, B. (1989). Drawing on the right side of the brain. New York, NY: Tarcher. (Note: The Amazon reviews say the 1989 edition is better than the more recent editions…)
Gunderson, E.A., Gripshover, S.J., Romero, C., Dweck, C.S., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Levine, S.C. (2013). Parent praise to 1- to 3-year-olds predicts children’s motivational frameworks 5 years later. Child Development 84(5), 1526-1541.
Haimovitz, K., & Dweck, C.S. (2016). Parents’ views of failure predict children’s fixed and growth intelligence mind-sets. Psychological Science 27, 859-869.
Lazowski, R.A., & Hulleman, C.S. (2016). Motivation intentions in education: A meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research 86(2), 602-640.
Li, Yue, & Bates, T.C. (n.d.). Does growth mindset improve children’s IQ, educational attainment or response to setbacks? Active-control interventions and data on children’s own mindsets. Retrieved from https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/tsdwy/download?format=pdf
Mueller, C.M., & Dweck, C.S. (1996, April). Implicit theories of intelligence; relation of parental beliefs to children’s expectations. Poster session presented at Head Start’s Third National Research Conference, Washington, D.C.
Noddings, N. (2005). The challenge to care in schools: An alternative approach to education (2ndEd.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Paunesku, D., Walton, G.M., Romero, C., Smith, E.N., Yeager, D.S., & Dweck, C.S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological Science 26(6), 784-793.
Pomerantz, E.M., & Kempner, S.G. (2013). Mothers’ daily person and process praise: Implications for children’s theory of intelligence and motivation. Developmental Psychology 49(11), 2040-2046.
Schmidt, J.A., Shumow, L., & Kackar-Cam, H.Z. (2017). Does mindset intervention predict students’ daily experience in classrooms? A comparison of seventh and ninth graders’ trajectories. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 46, 582-602.
Schmidt, J.A., Shumow, L., & Kackar-Cam, H.K. (2015). Exploring teacher effects for mindset intervention outcomes in seventh grade science classes. Middle Grades Research Journal 10(2), 17-32.
Strauss, V. (2014, August 21). For first time, minority students expected to be majority in U.S. public schools this fall. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/21/for-first-time-minority-students-expected-to-be-majority-in-u-s-public-schools-this-fall/?utm_term=.6d829f242036
U.S. Department of Education (2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce. Author. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/highered/racial-diversity/state-racial-diversity-workforce.pdf
Wentzel, K.R. (1997). Student motivation in middle school: The role of perceived pedagogical caring. Journal of Educational Psychology 89(3), 411-419.
Wright, C.F. (2017). Teacher stress and curriculum reform: An illustrative example with the “Growth Mindset” movement. Unpublished Master’s Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved from https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/62456
Yeager, D.S., Mueller, C., & Dweck, C.S. (n.d.). Revisiting descriptive statistics from Mueller & Dweck (1998). Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from https://osf.io/sh353/
Yeager, D.S., Paunesku, D., Walton, G.M., & Dweck, C.S. (2013, June 10). How can we instill productive mindsets at scale? A review of the evidence and an initial R&D agenda. Unpublished white paper prepared for the White House meeting on Excellence in Education: The Importance of Academic Mindsets. Retrieved from https://labs.la.utexas.edu/adrg/files/2013/12/Yeager-et-al-RD-agenda-6-10-131.pdf