Eric.ed.gov – Changing Mindsets: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

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The Changing Mindsets project sought to improve academic attainment by supporting pupils to develop a growth mindset: the belief that intelligence is not a fixed characteristic and can be increased through effort. Previous research (Good et al., 2003; Blackwell et al., 2007) has suggested that holding this belief enables pupils to work harder and achieve better results. The project consisted of two separate interventions: (1) an intervention that taught pupils directly about the malleability of intelligence through six workshops, which were delivered by undergraduates from the University of Portsmouth, and four further sessions delivered by two local organisations: the Education Business Partnership, and Pompey Study Centre (now called Portsmouth in the Community); and (2) a professional development course that trained teachers on approaches to developing and reinforcing growth mindsets through their teaching. This course consisted of two half days of instruction. The project targeted Year 5 pupils in Portsmouth, Southampton and Hampshire. The delivery of the interventions was led by the University of Portsmouth and took place between January and May 2013. Key conclusions included: (1) Pupils who received the growth mindset workshops made an average of two additional months’ progress in English and maths. These findings were not statistically significant, which means that we cannot be confident that they did not occur by chance. However, the finding for English was close to statistical significance, and this suggests evidence of promise; (2) Pupils whose teachers received the professional development intervention made no additional progress in maths compared to pupils in the control group. These pupils made less progress in English than the control group, but this finding is not statistically significant and we cannot be sure that it did not occur by chance; (3) Free School Meal (FSM)-eligible pupils who were involved in the professional development intervention gained a better understanding of the malleability of intelligence; (4) Intervention and control schools were already using some aspects of the growth mindsets approach. This may have weakened any impact of the interventions; and (5) Future trials could examine the impact of a programme that combines the two interventions and runs for a longer period of time. Findings from the process evaluation highlight some key issues relevant to future use of Mindsets in UK schools, including EEF target schools and pupils. These concern: (1) the appeal of mindset approaches to teachers; (2) the ‘fit’ of mindset with schools’ ethos; (3) its relative simplicity and ease of use; and (4) understanding of the approach by pupils and, potentially, parents.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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