First Behavioral Measurement of Growth Mindset

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New White Paper From YouCubed and Motion Math Shows Personalized Growth Mindset Coaching Improves Challenge-Seeking and Persistence

Jo Boaler (Stanford professor, youcubed founder, and regular contributor to The Atlantic) and Coram Bryant and Jacob Klein of instructional math games company Motion Math today released a white paper detailing the first behavior measurement of students’ growth mindset – the powerful belief that effort can improve ability.

Personalized learning has mostly focused on altering the pace, difficulty, and style of digital educational content. The study introduces a new form of personalized learning – personalized mindset coaching – which, in contrast, impacts student beliefs and motivations for learning. The experiment involved over 5000 elementary students playing the addition game Hungry Fish. An subset of students was given digital coaching messages about the principles of growth mindset before play and during crucial moments of success, failure, and difficulty selection. The study found that this coaching measurably improved challenge-seeking and persistence, behaviors that reflect a growth mindset and that are crucial for life-long learning.

The experiment centers on elementary math, because fixed mindsets are widespread and pernicious among math learners. However, mindset coaching has a broad potential impact, because it targets deep factors of learner psychology relevant for any age of learner for any subject matter. The paper describes future research work and a vision for how personalized coaching can help digital learning reach its full potential. The white paper is available at and full details are at

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Jacob Klein
since: 08/2010
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