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A Growth Mindset

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

“[Children with a growth mindset] knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated through effort”-Carol Dweck

Take a look at the graph below- what does it say? When it comes to challenges, obstacles, effort, criticism, and success, there are generally two kinds of mindsets: the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset. The growth mindset leads people to embrace challenges, learn from mistakes, make continuous efforts, and be inspired by the success of others. This concept of growth mindset was developed and popularized by Carol Dweck, renowned Stanford psychology professor and one of the world’s leading researchers on motivation and growth. According to her research, such a way of thinking would make one appreciate the process and the efforts, ultimately resulting in ever-higher levels of achievement.

In contrast to the growth mindset, the fixed mindset is the belief that one is born with certain characteristics, which can’t be changed by new experiences. Such a fixed mindset would lead individuals to avoid challenges and ultimately prevent them from realizing their full potential.

Dweck’s research shows that a growth mindset is a strong predictor of achievement and that it exhibits a positive relationship with the achievement of students. Early this year, OECD also came out with a report (https://www.oecd.org/pisa/growth-mindset.pdf) after including a “growth mindset” instrument to gauge students’ beliefs about intelligence malleability in the 2018 PISA assessment. PISA data show that “students with a growth mindset valued school more, set more ambitious learning goals, reported higher levels of self-efficacy, and displayed higher levels of motivation and lower levels of fear of failure.” As to the result? “On average across OECD countries, students who present a growth mindset score higher than their peers with a fixed mindset. ”


These findings open a new avenue for policy design and interventions to bridge the performance gap of students from different social-economical backgrounds.




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