WHAT WE’RE ASKING

The scholars of the Mindset Scholars Network are currently seeking answers to a number of research questions that have important implications for R&D, practice, and policy. Each of these questions benefits from the unique interdisciplinary lens that the Network brings to mindset scholarship.

Why It Matters

Enables us to design more effective strategies to promote adaptive mindsets

What We’re Doing

  • The National Study of Learning Mindsets is examining the interaction between growth mindset and sense of purpose
  • Scholars’ other studies are exploring the interactions between other learning mindsets
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Putting Mindsets into Context

In what kinds of schools and colleges, and in what kinds of classrooms, are mindset programs most effective?

Why It Matters

Advances scientific theory about the intersection of mindsets and context, yields implementation guidelines, and provides insight on where programs should not be used

What We’re Doing

The National Study of Learning Mindsets has a diverse sample of classrooms and schools, and is collecting data on many school, classroom, and individual-level variables

The College Transition Collaborative is conducting multi-site trials that will reveal the contexts in which belonging programs are most effective

What practices and policies in schools promote—or hinder—the development of learning mindsets?

Why It Matters

Informs R&D efforts to produce effective tools, and provides insight on how current practices and policies could be modified

What We’re Doing

The National Study of Learning Mindsets has measures of climate and instruction, and uses a sample that enables comparisons across school types; other studies are exploring how teachers, parents, and organizations convey certain mindsets to students

The network also launched a new interdisciplinary initiative to explore how learning environments shape the mindsets students develop about learning and school.

Is it necessary to tailor messages for different students in different educational settings? If so, how can schools effectively customize mindset programs?

Why It Matters

Yields insights about how mindset programs should be scaled, and if necessary, provides a proven method for optimizing these programs

What We’re Doing

The College Transition Collaborative is assessing the effects of a campus-level customization process, while the National Study of Learning Mindsets will reveal the settings in which standardized mindset programs don’t work in high school

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Improving Conduct of Mindset Field Experiments

How can we integrate best practices that increase reproducibility and replicability into field-based research on mindsets?

Why It Matters

Gives practitioners and the public more confidence in the conclusions of research, and advances the pace of knowledge accumulation

What We’re Doing

Network-supported research utilizes best practices for transparent research, including pre-registration of analyses and open data sharing

How can we dramatically increase the number of new, effective research-based programs available to practitioners?

Why It Matters

Suppliers are entering the market to meet rapidly growing demand with products that are untested or unproven

What We’re Doing

Scholars provide guidance to product developers, train new researchers, and model best practices for validation and replication

Looking Forward

Examples of known limitations in current mindset research:

  • The evidence base on mindsets would benefit from additional independent replications of randomized controlled trials of mindset programs.
  • Current state-of-the-art mindset programs in education, as currently designed, may not work with very young children.
  • Mindset interventions have not yet been tested later in the life course (e.g., transition to retirement) and in many other mid-life adult transitions (e.g., transition from the military to civilian life; transition of incarcerated individuals back to society; transition between careers and professional retraining).

Are mindsets a psychological mechanism that might help explain the effects of highly regarded educational approaches on academic outcomes (e.g., project based learning, culturally relevant pedagogy, small schools)?

How can mindset programs be adapted to be relevant and impactful in different cultural settings?

How can “mindset” programs developed by psychologists and “nudge” techniques developed by behavioral economists work together to promote improved academic outcomes?

How can mindset interventions work hand in hand with other approaches to reducing educational inequality?