Chao et al., 2017: Learning about the malleability of intelligence and choosing a reward for attending classes increased performance on standardized tests among high-performing Indian students
2,420 students in 107 grade 3 classes in nonformal schools run by an nongovernmental organization in slum areas in a large city in western India were randomized, at the class level, to a 2 x 3 design: (1) a growth-mindset intervention (10 1-hour sessions in which students learned about how the brain grows as knowledge develops and how challenges provide opportunities for growth), versus a control condition focused on how the heart works, and (2) to an emphasis on the importance of attendance and public tracking of attendance and either a self-chosen (autonomy-supportive) or a teacher-chosen reward for high attendance, versus no emphasis on attendance and no reward for high attendance. At the end of the academic year, students took a standardized academic test of factual knowledge, concept recognition, problem solving, and analytic skills. Students with higher levels of prior performance in the personal choice condition performed better with growth-mindset rather than control. There was no effect of growth-mindset for students with lower levels of performance or in the no reward or teacher choice conditions.