WWC review of this study

Quick, easy mindset intervention can boost academic achievement in large introductory psychology classes

Bostwick, K. C. P., & Becker-Blease, K. A. (2018). Psychology Learning and Teaching, 17(2), 177–193. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1182886

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    184
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: September 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Academic achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Midterm 2 - Introduction Psychology Course

Growth Mindset vs. Other intervention

2 Weeks

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset;
184 students

77.25

78.00

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Midterm 4: Introduction to Psychology

Growth Mindset vs. Other intervention

6 Weeks

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset;
176 students

76.24

73.00

No

--

Final exam: Introductory Psychology college course

Growth Mindset vs. Other intervention

9 Weeks

Growth mindset versus fixed mindset;
173 students

78.24

77.00

No

--

Midterm 3: Introduction to Psychology

Growth Mindset vs. Other intervention

4 Weeks

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset;
174 students

68.78

68.00

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 66%
    Male: 29%
    Other or unknown: 5%
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    100%
  • Ethnicity
    Other or unknown    
    100%
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    
    100%

Setting

The study took place on the campus of a mid-sized public university in Oregon. Students who enrolled in a large, lecture-based introductory psychology course participated in the study. Students received materials for the intervention or one of two comparison conditions immediately after the first course exam was administered in class.

Study sample

Study authors did not report demographic characteristics of the analytic sample. Of the 278 students randomly assigned, gender was not specified for 14 students. Among the remaining 264 students, 66% were female. The authors noted that, historically, 50% of students who enrolled in the introductory psychology course were first-year or transfer students.

Intervention Group

After submitting their first course exam, students in the intervention group received a letter from the instructor stating that recent research showed that the human brain is adaptable and that people can overcome new challenges with persistence and hard work and strengthen areas of weakness over time.

Comparison Group

After submitting their first course exam, students in the fixed mindset and class attendance matters groups each received a letter from the instructor. The letter for students in the fixed mindset group stated that people have different strengths and weaknesses, that the key to success was to use one's strengths, and that everyone has to approach obstacles differently. The letter for students in the class attendance matters group stated the importance of class attendance for academic performance and thanked the student for coming to class.

Support for implementation

No additional information provided.

 

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