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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

Conditions for Success: Fostering First-Year Students' Growth Mindset in Developmental Mathematics


Author(s): Suh, E. K., Dahlgren, D. J., Hughes, M. E., Keefe, T. J., & Allman, R. J.

Citation: Suh, E. K., Dahlgren, D. J., Hughes, M. E., Keefe, T. J., & Allman, R. J. (2019). Conditions for Success: Fostering First-Year Students' Growth Mindset in Developmental Mathematics. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 31(2), 63-78.

 

Abstract

A quasi-experiment was conducted to determine if a growth mindset intervention in a developmental modular mathematics course would enhance student performance, persistence to final exam, and retention. University students (N = 227) in seven randomly selected sections were exposed to one of three interventions: growth mindset article + letter writing, neutral article + letter writing, and letter writing only. Students primed with a growth mindset article persisted at a significantly higher rate than those receiving a neutral article letter-writing prompt or students only writing letters. Persistence is defined as completing all course modules at 80% or higher and continuing in the course to the final exam. The growth-mindset intervention did not have a significant impact on retention into the two following semesters. Individual instructor was not found to affect student persistence. The utility of using mindset interventions for increasing first-year performance and persistence is discussed.

 

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