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Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention

Two studies explored the role of implicit theories of intelligence in adolescents’ mathematics achievement. In
Study 1 with 373 7th graders, the belief that intelligence is malleable (incremental theory) predicted an upward
trajectory in grades over the two years of junior high school, while a belief that intelligence is fixed (entity
theory) predicted a flat trajectory. A mediational model including learning goals, positive beliefs about effort,
and causal attributions and strategies was tested. In Study 2, an intervention teaching an incremental theory to
7th graders (N548) promoted positive change in classroom motivation, compared with a control group
(N543). Simultaneously, students in the control group displayed a continuing downward trajectory in grades,
while this decline was reversed for students in the experimental group.
Dr. Kali Trzesniewski,
Oct 27, 2011, 10:18 AM