Students with a fixed mindset believe that their own intelligence and talent are innate traits that don’t change.
For example, they might say, “I just can’t learn math.” These students typically worry about not looking smart, get upset by mistakes, and give up sooner on tough tasks. Students with a growth mindset believe that ability can change as a result of effort, perseverance, and practice. They might say, “Math is hard, but if I keep trying, I can get better at it.” Students with a growth mindset see mistakes as ways to learn, embrace challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks. Whether or not students are aware of their mindset, a broad body of research has shown that what they believe about their own intelligence can affect their effort, engagement, motivation, and achievement as measured by test scores, school grades, passing rate in post-secondary education, and other metrics.