What We Thought About "Growth Mindset" Is Not Supported By Research
Browsing through one of the figures of this paper already provides doubts regarding some outrageous claims from the "growth mindset" movement.
|Standardized mean differences (Cohen’s ds) in academic achievement between students receiving a growth-mind-set intervention and students in the comparison group. Cohen’s ds (squares) and 95% confidence intervals (error bars) are displayed for all effects entered into Meta-Analysis 2. The size of the square represents the effect size’s meta-analytic weight. The diamond on the bottom row represents the meta-analytically weighted mean Cohen’s d. For studies with multiple independent samples, the result for each sample (S1, S2, etc.) is reported separately. Similarly, for studies with multiple measures, the result for each measure (M1, M2, etc.) is reported separately. Multiple measures were adjusted for dependency. See the Supplemental Material available online for full details of all references. |
To What Extent and Under Which Circumstances Are Growth Mind-Sets Important to Academic Achievement? Two Meta-Analyses. Victoria F. Sisk, Alexander P. Burgoyne, Jingze Sun, Jennifer L. Butler, Brooke N.Macnamara. Psychological Science. First Published March 5, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617739704
The effects are indeed all over the place. There are positive effects and there are negative effects. Overall, there is a positive but very small effect. For this reason, the authors conclude that it is probably not worthy to spend much effort on this intervention. What is probably more helpful is for teachers to remind themselves always that effort is necessary in teaching. Every student can succeed but it takes work and commitment. That commitment is education for all. We must ensure that students have all the resources they need to succeed in school. Yes, ability does count, but as important are opportunities and resources. We all strive in tasks we think we excel in and we do throw in the towel at things we do not do well. But a teacher can still make that difference in increasing our conscientiousness. In the end, that is probably what counts and not some psychological theory on mindset.