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GROWTH MINDSET PROGRAM

At the heart of the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM) is a brief, online program designed to teach 9th grade students about people’s ability to grow their intellectual abilities over time and how this can help them make a difference on things that matter to them personally. In the NSLM, students were randomly assigned to receive either the growth mindset program or a control activity.

DEVELOPMENT

The online growth mindset program used in the NSLM was inspired by in-person growth mindset interventions developed in the early 2000s for laboratory research conducted by Josh Aronson, Catherine Good, Lisa Blackwell, Carol Dweck and colleagues. (See ‘Further Reading,’ below.)

In 2010, the Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) at Stanford University worked with researchers to translate the in-person interventions into a brief online module that could be delivered to large groups of students with a high degree of fidelity.

PERTS and the NSLM team refined the online growth mindset program over a two-year period before producing the two-part activity that was tested with students as part of the NSLM.

CONTENT

In the NSLM, students were randomly assigned to complete either the growth mindset program or a control activity during two 25-minute sessions.

In the treatment condition, students read and listened to materials describing scientific evidence about how the brain works and why people can grow their intellectual abilities over time. The program encouraged students to think about why they might want to grow their brain in order to make a difference on something that matters to them, such as their family, community, or a social issue they care about.

The students were then asked to complete a brief writing assignment in which they advised future 9th graders how to ease the transition to high school, based on what the participants had just learned from the program. The writing exercises gave students an opportunity to engage in active learning by synthesizing the ideas they’d just heard and thinking through their implications.

HEAR FROM THE RESEARCHERS

Dave Paunesku, co-founder and executive director of PERTS, provides a guided tour of the growth mindset program used in the National Study of Learning Mindsets.

 

 

ACCESSING THE PROGRAM

The online growth mindset program is freely available to all schools in the U.S. and Canada through the PERTS website.

FURTHER READING

The following scientific papers trace the evolution of the program tested in the NSLM: