Research Library

Search over three decades of research on mindsets, including Mindset Scholars Network briefs and working papers, and other publications from Network studies and initiatives.

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An important goal of the scientific community is broadening the achievement and participation of racial minorities in STEM fields. Yet, professors’ beliefs about the fixedness of ability may be an unwitting and overlooked barrier for stigmatized students. Results from a longitudinal university-wide sample (150 STEM professors and more than 15,000 students) revealed that the racial achievement gaps in courses taught by more fixed mindset faculty were twice as large as the achievement gaps in courses taught by more growth mindset faculty. Course evaluations revealed that students were demotivated and had more negative experiences in classes taught by fixed (versus growth) mindset faculty. Faculty mindset beliefs predicted student achievement and motivation above and beyond any other faculty characteristic, including their gender, race/ethnicity, age, teaching experience, or tenure status. These findings suggest that faculty mindset beliefs have important implications for the classroom experiences and achievement of underrepresented minority students in STEM.

In the context of concerns about American youths' failure to take advanced math and science (MS) courses in high school, we examined mothers' communication with their adolescent about taking MS courses. At ninth grade, U.S. mothers were interviewed about their responses to hypothetical questions from their adolescent about the usefulness of algebra, geometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics. Responses were coded for elaboration and making personal connections to the adolescent. The number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses taken in 12th grade was obtained from school records. Mothers' use of personal connections predicted adolescents' MS interest and utility value, as well as actual MS course-taking. Parents can play an important role in motivating their adolescent to take MS courses.

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