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Giving Compass' Take:
• Scott Jaschik shares the results of a study that indicates that teachers' beliefs about the ability of their students to improve affect STEM performance, especially for children of color.
• How can funders help teachers see the potential of all of their students?
• Learn how to support STEM education.
A new study suggests that faculty members' attitudes about intelligence can have a major impact on the success of students in science, mathematics and technology courses. Students see more achievement when their instructors believe in a "growth mind-set" about intelligence than they do learning from those who believe intelligence is fixed. The impact was found across all student groups but was most pronounced among minority students.
The study -- by brain science scholars at Indiana University at Bloomington -- was published in the journal Science Advances and presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The researchers collected data on 150 faculty members in a range of STEM disciplines and 15,000 students over two years at a large public research university that is not identified. Faculty members were asked to respond to a general statement about intelligence along the lines of "To be honest, students have a certain amount of intelligence, and they really can’t do much to change it."
The study then looked at student performance in courses taught by those who agreed with that perspective and those who did not.
Students from all groups earned higher grades with faculty members who thought it was possible for people to experience intelligence growth. But the impact was particularly notable for black, Latino and Native American students.
Read the full article about teachers' beliefs by Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher ED.