What is Growth Mindset

When I hear the word mindset, I automatically think of how a person’s attitude determines their response to situations. I never thought of the different mindsets a person can have. According to Carol Dweck, a researcher and author at Stanford University; people tend to have either a fixed or growth mindset.

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(Dweck 2) In a fixed mindset, people believe their intelligence are fixed traits and cannot be changed. These types of people are most likely to put no effort in themselves. On the other hand, growth mindset people believe that their intelligence can be developed overtime. Growth mindset people are most likely to succeed in life. (Dweck 1) Students like me can relate to having a fixed and growth mindset from our experience learning inside or outside the classroom. Most students battle between fixed and growth mindsets, but eventually students would benefit from a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset; Both fixed and growth mindset students experience setbacks, face several challenges, and receive feedback, but overall growth mindset people have more positive outcomes.


A common setback most students face in all grade levels are standardized testing. Standardized test can be quite difficult and require a lot of studying. Depending on which mindset a person has, determines their response towards setbacks from standardized test. When students with a fixed mindset find testing more difficult, they are more likely to accept a lower score than trying to aim for a higher score. Students with a growth mindset, are more confident in their ability to achieve and do well on test. A recent study in 2016 on mindset and standardized testing explores the relationship between achievement and mindset in students’ overtime. (McCutchen 3) The Results of the study illustrate that academic achievement has increased over time. The increase was based upon the students’ mindset. Students with a more growth mindset have higher scores than students with a fixed mindset.


When Growth mindsets students see challenges, they often think of challenges as an opportunity to learn. When fixed mindset students see challenges, they tend to give up easily. An example of this used by Beyond the Classroom describes a situation where a student implicates the controversy between fixed and growth mindsets. The example was based on a 12-year-old girl named Sarah. Sarah wanted to try out for the school soccer team, but her thoughts of being a failure distracted her from her goal. This is an example of a fixed mindset. If Sarah were to develop a growth mindset, she would use her soccer tryouts as an opportunity to improve her talents and improve her learning. This example proves that having a growth mindset


Studies have shown that performance feedback from teachers can communicate mindsets and help increase the student’s performance. Studies also examine whether fixed mindset related comments could influence students’ mindsets and performance. A case study utilized undergraduate students enrolled in a pool and compared their mindset and quiz scores after receiving a statistics lesson. (Wang and Ng 52) In the lesson the teacher’s comments were communicated in either a fixed or growth mindset. The Students who received growth comments moved towards growth mindset beliefs. On the other hand, those who received fixed mindset comments and had lower quiz scores. Overall, teachers’ feedback is important to students because it can affect their mindsets. Teachers that hold a growth mindset toward their students have positive outcomes on learning ability as shown in the study. However, when teachers portray a fixed mindset towards students, it negatively impacts the classrooms environment.

Personally, with my experience as a student; I also battle between a fixed and growth mindset. The relationship between the two have an impact on my intelligence, specifically in math related courses. Ever since I was young, I’ve always struggled with math. I used to think that some people are gifted with intelligence in math, and some are not. Being in a classroom lost on curriculum can be extremely uncomfortable. I too, faced challenges, setbacks, and received a lot of feedback just like other students. My problem in the classroom was not being brave enough to speak up when I encountered difficulties in math. My fixed mindset stopped me from being a better student because I would fail a test and deal with it instead of learning from my failures. I didn’t develop a growth mindset until I reached high school. In high school I learned from my mistakes by figuring out what I could do better to improve myself. I turned my loses into lessons and made a huge increase on my academic ability. Having a growth mindset not only benefited me in math related courses, but also in other courses. Overall my perspective on growth mindset is that you can develop a growth mindset overtime with age and maturity.

In conclusion, all students experience both fixed and growth mindsets. Although it’s better to have a growth mindset, you must experience a fixed mindset to grow into a growth mindset. You cannot have a growth mindset all the time. A growth mindset is a way of thinking or carrying on a strategy that can be applied in any situation. Growth mindset doesn’t necessarily have to deal with school either, it can be used for other situations like driving. For example, learning how to drive depends on your mindset. With having a fixed mindset, a person may think they’re not fit for driving. Then there’s other people with growth mindsets who may not be the best at driving but strive to become a better driver. Here you can see that growth mindset is not something you simply have, or you don’t. According to new nation, “Everyone is a mix of both fixed and growth mindsets, and no one person has a pure growth mindset all the time”. What really matters is that people can learn from having a fixed mindset and develop into a growth mindset.

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