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Helping Students Develop a Growth Mindset for Academic Success

Recent studies have shown that students’ belief in themselves as learners can have a positive impact on their ability to persist in their academic coursework when faced with challenges. Understanding that learning is a process and results from effort and seeking help can also contribute to students’ academic success.


The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching has been active in developing and testing such concepts, which they refer to as “productive persistence.” This webinar featured Rachel Beattie, the Carnegie Foundation’s director of productive persistence, who discussed research on the root causes of low academic success, particularly in math. She also described how the productive persistence initiative—which focuses on the combination of tenacity, motivation, and strategies necessary to help students successfully complete their academic goals—helps teachers and faculty members to practically address important psychological factors that drive student engagement.

Two practitioners—Michelle Brock of American River College and Paul Verschueren of Seattle Central College—presented practical strategies to develop students’ “growth mindsets” (the belief that one is capable of learning and that intelligence is not fixed, but can be developed). These strategies can be applied by webinar participants across multiple settings (high school and college classrooms) and subject areas.

The primary audience for this event included high school teachers, postsecondary faculty, and other education stakeholders interested in research on noncognitive factors that can impact student success.

Webinar Resources

Webinar slides in pdf format

Sample lessons and materials from Carnegie Foundation, including productive persistence activities and culturally-relevant materials (download links appear at bottom of the page)

Khan Academy and PERTS' Growth Mindset Lesson Plan

PERTS' Mindset Kit, Mindset Meter, and related readings

Recommended reading: Paper by Angela L. Duckworth and David Scott Yeager, titled "Measurement Matters: Assessing Personal Qualities Other Than Cognitive Ability for Educational Purposes" and related NPR story