Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Susan Schramm–Pate


The purpose of this action research study was to describe nine tenth-grade student-participants’ perceptions of a growth mindset curriculum based on the educational theory developed by Dweck (2006). The curriculum focused on the core aspects of Dweck’s (2006) theory: (a).understanding brain growth and neuroplasticity, (b) having a productive attitude about making mistakes and experiencing failure, and (c) expending effort and developing perseverance (Dweck, 2006). The teacher-researcher implemented the Growth Mindset Unit in a small high school in a coastal town in southern Maine during the teacher- researcher’s advisory class. The school has a proficiency-based grading system in which students benefit from developing a growth mindset in order to meet the districts’ competencies and standards. Data was collected using a pre- and post- test survey, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group. The teacher- researcher found that (a) there was an overall increase in the average growth mindset for the class, (b) the student-participants perceived the construct of growth mindset in the school’s proficiency-based system to be valuable, and (c) the student-participants felt there should be changes to the Growth Mindset Unit to make it more engaging. Changes were made and shared with the student- participants in a focus group setting. An action plan was developed to present to the ninth-grade advisory class teachers regarding growth mindset and how to implement a Growth Mindset Unit. The goal would be to implement the Growth Mindset Unit for all ninth-graders in their advisory classes.


© 2019, Jennifer Jo L. Dufort