This study is testing the efficacy of Brainology®, a research-based educational intervention designed to teach students a growth mindset and effective study skills. It is based on research showing that a growth mindset—the understanding that one can develop one’s intelligence through learning and effort— leads to increased motivation and achievement, and that teaching a growth mindset leads to improved academic performance.
Brainology is a blended learning curriculum combining an animated, interactive internet-delivered software program and classroom activities. In 20 lessons, Brainology teaches students how the brain works and how it becomes stronger and smarter through practice and learning. It shows them how the challenges they experience in school—with attention, emotion, learning, and memory—can be understood and managed by using effective study strategies, and provides activities to reinforce and apply this learning to their school work.
To test the efficacy of the intervention, participating middle school/junior high school teachers and classrooms in 6th and/or 7th grade will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions:
A Growth Mindset Training group, in which teachers and classrooms will implement Brainology;
A Comparison group in which teachers and classrooms proceed with their customary practices.
Achievement measures such as grades and test scores will be collected from both participating groups. We will work with your district to collect the appropriate permissions for data collection. Teachers and students in the comparison group will be eligible for the free services upon completion of the study.
Prior to October 2017, we will collect baseline achievement and demographic data; conduct random assignment; obtain required consents from districts, schools, teachers, and parents; and implement pre-measures. The Intervention phase will begin in the Fall/Winter term and continue through the academic school year. Following program completion in the Spring of 2018, participating schools in both conditions will also complete post-measures, and data on impact (including short- and longer-term academic outcomes) will be collected. Final data collection for both conditions will occur in late Fall of 2018.
Data Analysis and Reporting
We will compare the outcomes of groups in the Growth Mindset Training group with those in the Comparison group on all of the above measures. All data will be kept confidential and results will be reported in aggregate form only.
All program resources are covered by this grant, and will therefore be provided for free to participating science teachers and their classrooms for the study duration. (Teachers in the Comparison group will be provided with the resources after the study period in Winter 2017.) Depending on the district regulations of a school, either a school donation or stipend for participating teachers who complete program and research activities will be provided.