Evidence That It Works
Research has shown that students who learned about growth mindset with regards to mathematics reported more positive beliefs about math, were more engaged in math class, and did better on standardized math achievement tests. Mindset interventions in math benefit all students, but have demonstrated even more power for groups that may be more affected by myths about math learning, including girls, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students.
In addition, a four-year study of high school students in different types of math classes showed that the students who learned math in mixed-ability classrooms that emphasized cooperative group work, open problem-solving, and the use of multiple strategies–compared to those in traditional math classrooms, which were often ability-grouped and focused on teacher lectures and individual work–demonstrated greater gains in math achievement and greater reductions in achievement gaps, enjoyed math more, and treated each other with more respect, support, and equity.
Why Does It Matter?
A substantial body of research has indicated that students who have a growth mindset about intelligence–who believe that, with effort, intelligence can be changed over time–are more likely to do well academically.
Importantly, evidence shows that growth mindset can be learned: in a nationally representative study, students who were taught about a growth mindset of intelligence went on to earn better grades (especially if they started out lower-achieving) and select more challenging classes. Grades improved even more in schools with more supportive learning climates, in which peer norms supported the growth mindset message.
Though much of the research on growth mindset has to do with beliefs about intelligence, other research suggests that social and emotional growth mindsets (e.g., believing that personality, emotions, etc., can grow and change) can reduce bias and promote well-being, social competence, and prosocial behavior.