The Effects of Two Mindset Interventions on Low-Income Students’ Academic and Psychological Outcomes

Jill Gandhi, Tyler W. Watts, Michael D. Masucci, C. Cybele Raver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined two widely available light-touch, writing-based mindset interventions: one that targeted students’ purpose for learning and one that aimed to increase students’ growth mindset. In order to examine the potential mechanisms underlying previously reported effects of mindset interventions, we analyzed these interventions’ effects on low-income, ethnic minority adolescents’ academic outcomes, task persistence, task-relevant anxiety, critical motivation, and sense of belonging. Results indicated that the purpose for learning intervention had a small negative impact on students’ self-reported grades the following year, and null results for the other outcomes. The growth mindset intervention was administered one year following the purpose for learning intervention and we found no evidence of treatment impacts on any outcomes. Analyses of treatment impact moderation suggested that certain student characteristics, such as student gender and race could play a role, but most of these tests also presented null results. The primarily null results of both interventions suggest that further study is needed to determine the effectiveness of one-time, self-administered mindset interventions across a variety of contexts and student populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-379
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Mindset interventions
  • academic interventions
  • growth mindset
  • purpose for learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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