Skip to main content
Infographic of human head with brain inside and symbol. The difference of positive and negative thinking mindset concepts.

Growth Mindset: Changing Beliefs About Ability and Intelligence

Students’ attitudes towards learning are affected by what they believe will happen when they learn and what students believe those they respect believe about learning. A growth mindset for students and teachers, where effort is praised over intelligence, can have a major effect on student achievement, particularly for struggling students. 

Students with a growth mindset have an intrinsic motivation to work on things because they believe their effort will pay off, while those with a fixed mindset tend to disengage when tasks get hard because they don’t believe their efforts will make a difference. Students with a fixed mindset are more likely to benefit from extrinsic motivations to encourage their shift from “I can’t” to “I can’t yet.”

Assessing Growth Mindset

Are your students resilient? Do they enjoy challenging tasks or give up before even trying? Assessing students’ growth mindset can be a collection of many data points often including teacher observations, interactions and discussions with students, and student survey results. 

What does a Growth mindset survey look like? Almost all measures of mindset are informal assessments that can be completed quickly via online via an online Google Form (that collects the results easily into a spreadsheet). Many school districts have created homegrown student surveys to probe students’ mindsets about learning. Dr. Carol Dweck created a Growth Mindset Scale that includes three questions and can be finished quickly. Dr. Lucinda Poole, a researcher and psychologist from Melbourne, Australia, developed The Growth Mindset Survey, based on Dr. Dweck’s research. It’s an eight-question survey that should take students approximately five minutes to complete. 

The education non-profit, Understood, has also developed growth mindset questions that can help students self-assess how they are learning from their mistakes, developing new strategies, and persevering even when something’s hard.