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Success Stories out of the Institute of Education Sciences' SBIR Program: Mindset Works

Screen shot of The Mindset Works® SchoolKit®

Product Description:

The Mindset Works® SchoolKit is a web-based multimedia intervention to strengthen student success through teaching a growth mindset—the understanding that ability develops with effort and learning. The SchoolKit includes Brainology®, a blended-learning program with animations and classroom activities to teach students in grades 5 to 9 about the malleable brain and effective study skills. It also includes the EducatorKit interactive professional development program, which uses video training modules, classroom activities, assessments, and online supports to help teachers foster a growth mindset school culture.

Research and Development:

Based on decades of research in adolescent motivation by Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck, the Mindset Works® SchoolKit was developed with the support of a 2010 IES SBIR Fast-Track award by leveraging open-source software through an iterative process in three stages. In the first, prototype components were developed and tested in one school with focus groups, observations, and online surveys to generate data on feasibility, usability, and engagement of each component. Based on these results, several elements were re-designed, and the beta version was piloted in 8 additional schools where feedback was collected and analyzed. In the final stage, all components were refined based on results from the Phase II pilot.

To demonstrate the promise of the product to support learning, a quasi-experimental study was conducted in two waves across 9 middle schools. Teachers participated in EducatorKit teacher training and 667 students in grades 5 to 9 completed the Brainology® program. Results from the pilots indicated that students and teachers found the SchoolKit usable, engaging, and helpful. Pre-post scores demonstrated significant increases in students' growth mindset, which related to increases in learning goals, positive beliefs about effort, and positive academic habits and behaviors (such as resilient responses to failure and better learning strategies). These changes also related to increases in students' grade point averages. Future research is being planned to examine the efficacy of the program through a randomized-control study.


The Mindset Works® SchoolKit was commercially released in August 2012. Since then, the program has been purchased by hundreds of schools and has been used by tens of thousands of students. The firm is commercializing the SchoolKit through direct sales, and more recently through a distribution partnership with Scholastic, which is marketing the SchoolKit programs to their district clients. In addition, Mindset Works has partnered with Scholastic to embed selected components in Scholastic's MATH 180 program. Finally, the District of Columbia Public Schools has contracted with Mindset Works to implement the SchoolKit as a district-wide program for two successive years.

Industry Recognition:

  • Mindset Works SchoolKit was a finalist for a 2013 SIIA Education CODiE Award for “Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas.”