Growth mindset correlates to higher GPA

A recent study published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds that a person's growth mindset, sense of belonging, and personal values can determine whether the person graduates from college.

The researchers reviewed previous research about how intrapersonal and interpersonal skills influence educational attainment. They found that students who have three traits generally do better academically than those who do not.

First, students who had a growth mindset, which is the belief that people can grow more intelligent over time, generally do better academically. Around 75% of studies reviewed showed that students with a growth mindset also had GPA scores that improved over time.

Second, students who had a stronger sense that they belong in school and feel socially integrated performed better, especially underrepresented populations and first-generation students. About 85% of studies about belonging found a positive correlation between sense of belonging and GPA.

Finally, students who reported personal values related to achievement also tended to perform better. About 83% of studies that looked at personal values found a positive correlation between values and GPA.

Colleges can help students increase these emotional competencies, according to Fred Oswald, a professor of psychology Rice University who was also a co-author of the report. For example, instructors can have students write about how a course topic relates to their own life or that of a loved one.

Also see: Three hidden pain points in the college student experience

The researchers who worked on the study say that additional research is needed on student outcomes at two-year colleges (Donachie, Education Dive, 5/31; Ellis, Houston Chronicle, 5/31;, 5/30). 

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