Practices to Communicate Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that abilities are malleable and can be improved with effort, feedback, and using effective strategies for learning. In contrast, a fixed mindset is the belief that abilities are innate. When instructors convey a growth mindset about intelligence to students, students are found to experience less identity threat and perform better academically. Although students perceive these beliefs, research shows that these perceptions are quite accurate when compared to instructors' self-reported beliefs.

The SEP Practices Library contains practice recommendations that instructors can use in their courses to bolster student engagement and increase equity in academic outcomes. The following practice recommendations are designed to communicate an instructor growth mindset. To view practices organized by other social-psychological constructs, click here.

Overview: Effective Growth Mindset Messages: A foundational overview on how instructors can convey a growth mindset, why they should, and how to use growth-minded messaging

Establishing Expectations: A Growth Mindset Approach: Approaches for communicating about academic standards and course expectations in a way that promotes student engagement, learning, and academic success

Creating a Belonging Story: Guidance on developing and adapting a brief exercise to help students understand that belonging concerns in college are normal, and not a signal that they do not belong or cannot succeed

Creating a Wise Feedback Framing Statement: Guidance on delivering critical feedback in a way that engenders trust, increases academic engagement, and helps close academic outcome gaps

Creating an Attuned Assessment Wrapper: Resources for developing a practice that helps students prepare for, and debrief, key assessments in a way that emphasizes potential for growth, connects to resources, and does not inspire identity threat


The SEP Practices Library has been developed by CTC (© 2020) through the Student Experience Project.
Copying or
reproducing this resource is prohibited.

Help us improve the SEP Practices Library!
Use the Practices Library Feedback Form to provide feedback on the change practices you have tried,
and to provide suggestions for improving the library over time.

Email contact@ctcteam.org with any questions.