Yeager, Walton, et al., 2016, Experiment 1-Growth Mindset: Representing intelligence as malleable in an online, prematriculation exercise did not affect first-year college completion among minority and first-generation high school students
A version of the growth-mindset intervention adapted for students exiting high-performance urban charter schools was delivered in an online module in May of students’ senior year of high school in high school computer labs. Participants 90%+ of the graduating class of the relevant high schools. They were almost all African American and first-generation college students entering 70+ mostly low-selectivity 2 and 4-year colleges. In the treatment condition, an article and stories from older students emphasized that intelligence is not fixed but can grow with hard work on challenging tasks, good strategies, and help from others. Students read the stories and then wrote an essay about how they anticipated their experiences in college would reflect the themes emphasized. The primary outcome was the percentage of students who stayed full-time enrolled in college in their first year. There was no effect of condition, perhaps because the charter schools had already taught growth-mindset ideas. Simultaneously, a social-belonging intervention delivered in the same context raised first-year completion rates.