Horowitz: Believing You Can Get Smarter Improves School Performance
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The outdated notion that your IQ, determined at a young age through testing, is destiny is still too often the prism upon which students and their teachers set expectations. Embracing the more accurate and optimistic growth mindset, where initial smarts and talents are no more than a beginning enables one to view their efforts as the key to their success or failure.
A new study of California 3rd to 8th graders bolsters the case for the importance of inculcating a growth mindset in our children. Conducted by Susana Claro and Susanna Loeb and recently posted by The Brookings Institution, the study “finds that traditionally underserved students – including students in poverty, English learners, Hispanics, and African-American students – are less likely to hold a growth mindset. Yet, for all groups, students with a growth mindset learn more over the course of a year than otherwise similar students who do not have a growth mindset.”
The finding, confirmed over a number of studies, that the growth mindset for sub-groups that tend to lag in school performance, such as students that grow up in poverty, is less than for higher performing groups creates the possibility that broadly incorporating the promotion of this more expansive view of intelligence into classrooms throughout the nation could help close some of the performance gaps. As the authors of the California study wrote, “Experiments in schools have found that sessions designed to promote a growth mindset benefit academic achievement of students, especially those with initially low grades or in higher risk of failing.” When students realize that they are not destined to fail and through hard work can become more intelligent, they are understandably more motivated.
Giving every student a belief that they have the potential to succeed should be the bottom line for all of our teachers and schools. That is not only common sense; it is now backed up by persuasive evidence.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
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