Teacher Mindsets Help Explain Where a Growth-Mindset Intervention Does and Doesn’t Work

David S. Yeager, Jamie M. Carroll, Jenny Buontempo, Andrei Cimpian, Spencer Woody, Robert Crosnoe, Chandra Muller, Jared Murray, Pratik Mhatre, Nicole Kersting, Christopher Hulleman, Molly Kudym, Mary Murphy, Angela Lee Duckworth, Gregory M. Walton, Carol S. Dweck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growth-mindset intervention teaches the belief that intellectual abilities can be developed. Where does the intervention work best? Prior research examined school-level moderators using data from the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM), which delivered a short growth-mindset intervention during the first year of high school. In the present research, we used data from the NSLM to examine moderation by teachers’ mindsets and answer a new question: Can students independently implement their growth mindsets in virtually any classroom culture, or must students’ growth mindsets be supported by their teacher’s own growth mindsets (i.e., the mindset-plus-supportive-context hypothesis)? The present analysis (9,167 student records matched with 223 math teachers) supported the latter hypothesis. This result stood up to potentially confounding teacher factors and to a conservative Bayesian analysis. Thus, sustaining growth-mindset effects may require contextual supports that allow the proffered beliefs to take root and flourish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • adolescence
  • affordances
  • growth mindset
  • implicit theories
  • motivation
  • open data
  • open materials
  • preregistered
  • wise interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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