Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Lindstrom, Michael


Recent studies have shown the predictive nature of mindset and motivation. Students tend to have one of two mindsets: a growth mindset or a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2000). Those with a growth mindset believe that their knowledge can increase and they are able to continuously improve. Students with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence was bestowed upon them, and that they cannot really change how smart they can become. This study examined the perceptions of middle school students about their mindsets and explored the question of where they think their mindset originates. Nearly 500 students were surveyed to determine both their mindset and their most significant influencers. These included growth and fixed mindset messages from either adults at home, adults at school, other adults, friendly peers, negative peers, and siblings. Results revealed that adults at home have the most influence on students with a growth mindset. Adults at home and school have the most influence on students with a fixed mindset. Positive peers also highly influenced both groups. These findings suggest that schools considering growth mindset interventions should also consider them for parents and guardians at home. Consistent, growth mindset messaging at home and at school will teach middle school students how to persevere and value growth. It is expected that these students will ultimately experience more academic success.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation