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  • Dr Paul Penn

Growth Mindset: Don't believe the hype.


In the latest video on my YouTube channel, I provide what I think is a fair account of the state of the research on growth mindset.


As you'll see in the video, I'm of the view that the enthusiasm and hype that often surrounds growth mindset is not yet warranted by the evidence for its use. However, this is not to say that we should dismiss the concept entirely. Believing that you can cultivate and develop an ability (such as learning) is very helpful in getting you motivated. However, just believing that you can improve your ability to learn is insufficient; the strategies you use in approaching learning matter more.


It is looking increasingly likely that the relationship between mindset and educational attainment is complex and moderated by factors such as achievement goals and their related purposive actions.


References: Bostwick, K. C., & Becker-Blease, K. A. (2018). Quick, easy mindset intervention can boost academic achievement in large introductory psychology classes. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 17(2), 177-193.


Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House Digital, Inc..


Foliano, F., Rolfe, H., Buzzeo, J., Runge, J., & Wilkinson, D. (2019). Changing mindsets: Effectiveness trial. National Institute of Economic and Social Research.


Geller, J., Toftness, A. R., Armstrong, P. I., Carpenter, S. K., Manz, C. L., Coffman, C. R., & Lamm, M. H. (2018). Study strategies and beliefs about learning as a function of academic achievement and achievement goals. Memory, 26(5), 683-690.


Karpicke, J. D. (2017). Retrieval-Based Learning: A Decade of Progress. Grantee Submission.


McCabe, J. A., Kane-Gerard, S., & Friedman-Wheeler, D. G. (2020). Examining the utility of growth-mindset interventions in undergraduates: A longitudinal study of retention and academic success in a first-year cohort. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 6(2), 132.


Muijs, D., & Bokhove, C. (2020). Metacognition and Self-Regulation: Evidence Review. Education Endowment Foundation.


Sisk, V. F., Burgoyne, A. P., Sun, J., Butler, J. L., & Macnamara, B. N. (2018). To what extent and under which circumstances are growth mind-sets important to academic achievement? Two meta-analyses. Psychological science, 29(4), 549-571.


Yeager, D. S., Hanselman, P., Walton, G. M., Murray, J. S., Crosnoe, R., Muller, C., & Dweck, C. S. (2019). A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement. Nature, 573(7774), 364-369.


Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2020). What can be learned from growth mindset controversies?. American Psychologist, 75(9), 1269.

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