WWC review of this study

Conditions for success: Fostering first-year students' growth mindset in developmental mathematics

Suh, E. K., Dahlgren, D. J., Hughes, M. E., Keefe, T. J., & Allman, R. J. (2019). Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 31(2), 63-78.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    157
     Students
    , grade
    PS

Reviewed: October 2021

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

Course passing rate

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

20 Weeks

Intervention vs. laughter/stress comparison;
155 students

64.80

32.80

No

--
More Outcomes

Final exam test score

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

20 Weeks

Intervention vs. laughter/stress comparison;
74 students

73.68

74.24

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Course passing rate

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

20 Weeks

Intervention vs. advice-only comparison;
151 students

64.80

55.60

No

--
Progressing in college outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Retention to the following semester

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

20 Weeks

Intervention vs. laughter/stress comparison;
157 students

74.20

80.90

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Retention to the following academic year

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Intervention vs. laughter/stress comparison;
156 students

59.10

60.30

No

--

Retention to the following academic year

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Intervention vs. advice-only comparison;
157 students

59.10

69.60

No

--

Retention to the following semester

Growth Mindset vs. Business as usual

20 Weeks

Intervention vs. advice-only comparison;
159 students

74.20

84.30

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: 69%
    Male: 31%
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    Indiana
  • Race
    Black
    8%
    Other or unknown
    13%
    White
    78%

Setting

The study took place at a public four-year university in Indiana within seven sections of a developmental mathematics course required for graduation.

Study sample

Among 227 students in the seven course sections that were included in the study, 8% were Black, 78% were White, and race was not specified for 13% of the sample. Sixty-nine percent of these students were female, and 51% were first-generation college students. Information about the characteristics of the analytic samples for main findings was unavailable.

Intervention Group

During the second and third weeks of the fall semester, students in the Growth Mindset intervention group read a short article describing research showing that the brain is malleable and that intelligence can grow if students exert effort when facing a challenge. Next, students wrote three short essay responses to prompts in which they (1) summarized the article, (2) described a personal experience about learning something new, and (3) gave advice to a hypothetical student who was feeling “dumb.”

Comparison Group

Within the second and third weeks of the fall semester, students in the laughter/stress comparison group read a short article describing the role of laughter in health and stress management. Next, students wrote short replies to essay prompts in which they (1) summarized the article and (2) described a personal situation in which they used laughter to relax and improve their health. Students in the advice-only comparison group did not read an article before writing short replies to two essay prompts in which they (1) described a personal situation in which they succeeded in a class and explained the reasons for their success, and (2) wrote a letter to a friend who was feeling “dumb” and offered advice for how to learn and become smarter.

Support for implementation

No additional information provided.

 

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