Piloting a growth mindset intervention for student success

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Murphy, Jonathan
Hyland, John
Hyland, Pauline
Frazer, Patricia
Reid, Rosie
Walsh, Margaret
Dickersen, Bryan
Issue Date
Dublin Business School
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Objective: Dublin Business School is currently collaborating with the California-based ‘Heroic Imagination Project’ on a validation study focusing on a mind-set intervention for learners’ motivation and satisfaction. This is aimed at increasing student success, retention and progression. Method: A randomised control pilot study was conducted. Sixty-one first year psychology students (Mindset = 29, Control = 32) took part in the intervention across three time points (pre-intervention, post-intervention and follow up). A battery of psychometric measures focusing on Mindset, Motivation and Self-efficacy were completed by students. Results: A significant interaction effect for Cognitive strategy revealed an increase in the Mindset group and a decrease in the Control group. Similarly, Test anxiety decreased in the Mindset group, with an increase in the Control group. Contrary to expectations, a significant decrease in intrinsic value was found generally. Conclusion: While some interesting trends emerge from the pilot, statistical power was an issue due to the small sample size. Having the intervention earlier in the academic year may provide greater opportunity to facilitate change. Further findings will be discussed in relation to theory and practice. Author keywords: Heroic imagination project, growth mindset, student performance, student motivation, self-efficacy