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ERIC Number: ED555497
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 229
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-3967-4
The Impact of a Growth Mindset Intervention on the Reading Achievement of At-Risk Adolescent Students
Saunders, Stephen Allan
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
The lack of academic success by American adolescents has been of grave concern for both researchers and practitioners for many decades. While many American adolescents struggle in school, some students are at a greater risk than their peers based on personal characteristics such as race, socioeconomic status, and motivation. The low levels of academic achievement, particularly in the area of reading, are a serious problem for school leaders and teachers working with adolescent students. Decades of research has established the relationship between motivation and academic achievement. Self-theories or mindsets have been offered as one motivational framework to describe individuals' beliefs about their own traits, such as their intelligence. Individuals tend to fall along a continuum from a growth to a fixed mindset. At-risk students who adopt a fixed mindset may become trapped in a recursive pattern of low achievement, low motivation, and low effort. There is a convergence of several events that occurs when adolescents transition to middle school during sixth grade. These events, which include psychological and physiological changes as well as normative declines in motivation and academic achievement, make sixth grade an exceptionally important year for the future success of at-risk students. Prior research has suggested that adolescent students who prefer a growth mindset have higher academic achievement than their peers who prefer a fixed mindset. This pilot study used a mixed methods research design which combined a quasi-experimental pre-posttest assessment and a focus group component. The participants were thirty public middle school at-risk sixth grade students who had experienced reading difficulties. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a computer-based growth mindset intervention (Brainology™) on these students' reading achievement as well as their attitudes toward reading. This study was the first to explore at-risk adolescent students' mindsets and to examine the impact of Brainology™ on reading achievement. There were non-significant results for four research questions. The focus group interviews indicated that the experimental group students believed that the Brainology™ influenced their beliefs about their intelligence. These results are discussed relative to the topics of adolescent development, motivation, and adolescents' academic environment. Implications for school leaders and future research are also offered. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A