Evaluation of the Brainology® Growth Mindset Intervention

Type of Research:

evaluation of an intervention


The purpose of the Brainology  evaluation study is to test the efficacy of this evidence-based intervention aimed at increasing middle school students’ motivation and achievement through teaching them to have a growth mindset along with related study skills and tools.

A growth mindset is the belief that abilities can grow and improve through learning and effort.  

The project:

The SELF lab is serving as the independent evaluator of this randomized-controlled trial testing the efficacy of the Brainology intervention. Our job is to help design the research study and surveys, and take the lead on data collection, analyze the data, and write up the results. Independence of evaluation and implementation of the program is maintained by the SELF lab having sole interaction/storage of the data and Mindset Works having sole interaction with schools to train teachers and support implementation of the Brainology program.

This research is funded by the Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences.

The SELF lab has no financial interests in the Brainology program and have not participated in the writing of the Brainology curriculum.

The design:

The study will aim to randomly assign 60 teachers to receive the Brainology intervention or to a no treatment control condition. Data will be collected with four cohorts of students, each followed for two school years. This cluster randomized controlled trial will be the first to test the Brainology program with a gold-standard randomized design. In addition to obtaining an average treatment effect of the Brainology program, this study allows us to collect rich longitudinal data on students' motivational beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and goals, fidelity of implementation, classroom and school climate, and student achievement.

Within the larger Brainology project, we have a few sub-projects:

  • Mindset Process: This study tests a process model for how mindsets shape students' achievement. Specifically, we test mastery behavior and effort beliefs as potential mediators of a growth mindset on students' grades.

  • Mindset and Emotion: This study tests how mindsets shape students' emotional reactions to feedback they receive on class tests.

  • Mindset Over Time: This study tests how mindsets naturally develop over the course of middle school, and which demographic and classroom factors shape mindset trajectories