Monday, April 10, 2017
Growth Mindset, Performance Avoidance, and Academic Behavior
Research suggests that student beliefs about academic ability, the payoff to academic effort, and academic behaviors can be important to success in school. However, little is known about whether and how these beliefs may differ among students and teachers in different academic contexts. In a new study, using a large sample of grade 4-12 students and teachers in Nevada’s Clark County School District, REL West explored variation in growth mindset (the belief that academic ability is not fixed but can be developed through effort), performance avoidance (the tendency to hide effort and fear academically challenging situations), and academic behaviors (such as doing required reading or other homework and actively participating in class).
Most students reported beliefs that are largely consistent with a growth mindset. However, reported beliefs and behaviors differed significantly across student subgroups. For example, lower levels of growth mindset and higher levels of performance avoidance were reported among students with lower prior academic achievement, English learner students, and Black students.
For example, Black and Hispanic students reported lower levels of growth mindset than White students. English learner students reported significantly lower levels of growth mindset and higher levels of performance avoidance than their non-English learner counter parts. Lower achieving students reported significantly lower levels of growth mindset and significantly higher levels of performance avoidance than their higher achieving peers.
Teachers reported greater beliefs in growth mindset than students, and their beliefs regarding growth mindset did not, for the most part, vary significantly depending on the characteristics of the students attending their schools.