Changing U.S. Students’ Mindsets about Learning Improves Academic Achievement




Yeager, David S.
Hanselman, Paul
Crosnoe, Robert
Muller, Chandra

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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center



In the United States, many students’ grades drop in the transition between 8th and 9th grades and often never recover. One promising intervention to help students successfully navigate the transition to high school involves encouraging students to see their intellectual abilities as something that can grow (like a muscle), rather than as something fixed (like eye color). In this research brief, PRC faculty research associates David Yeager, Robert Crosnoe and Chandra Muller, along with colleagues in the Mindset Scholars Network, report on the first longitudinal study to evaluate the effects of a short growth mindset curriculum in a nationally-representative sample of U.S. public high schools. They demonstrate that 9th grade students who took the growth mindset curriculum earned higher GPAs and took more challenging courses, particularly in schools that are more supportive of a growth mindset philosophy.

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