Mindset theory predicts that whether students believe basic ability is greatly malleable exerts a major influence on their own educational attainment (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007). We tested this prediction in two near-replication studies (total n = 832). In study 1 we tested the association of mindset with university grades in a cross-sectional design involving self-reported grades for 246 undergraduates. Growth mindset showed no association with grades (β = −0.02 CI95 [−0.16, 0.12], t = −0.26, p = .792). In study 2, we implemented a longitudinal design, testing the association of mindset with grade transcript scores across a series of challenging transitions: from high school to university entry, and then across all years of an undergraduate degree (n = 586). Contrary to prediction, mindset was not associated with grades across the challenging transition from high-school to the first year of university (β = −0.05 CI95 [−0.14, 0.05], t = −0.95, p = .345). In addition, mindset was unrelated to entry grades (p = .808). And no support was found for a predicted interaction of mindset with academic disadvantage across the transition (β = −0.03 CI95 [−0.12, 0.07], t = −0.54, p = .592). Follow-up analyses showed no association of mindset with improvement in grades at any subsequent year of the degree (minimum p-value 0.591). Jointly, these two near-replication studies suggest that, even across challenging transitions, growth mindset is either unrelated to educational attainment or has a very small negative influence.
- educational attainment
- growth mindset
- challenging transitions
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