Growth mindset and reducing inequality in education

Cameron Hecht and colleagues have written an article about the importance of cultivating a growth mindset for reducing inequality in education. It provides an up-to-date insight into what growth mindset researchers are currently focusing on. Here are some key points from the article.

Inequality in education

Good education is essential. It contributes to the prosperity, well-being, health and stability of societies. One problem is that there are significant differences in educational performance worldwide. In countries such as the US, students from minority groups and lower socio-economic backgrounds often have fewer educational opportunities than their middle- and upper-class peers. One of the psychological factors that seems to reinforce these inequalities is the belief in a fixed mindset.

Benefits of growth mindsets

Research has shown that a growth mindset, the belief that intellectual skills can be developed, is linked to more positive academic outcomes. Students with this mindset see challenges as opportunities for growth and link failure to effort and strategy, as opposed to a lack of ability, as students with a 'fixed mindset' often do. Teachers play a key role in this. Teachers with a 'growth mindset' create an atmosphere in the classroom in which learning and development are central. This has a positive impact, especially on students from disadvantaged communities.

How can we promote a growth mindset culture?

To learn more about how we can foster a growth mindset culture in the classroom, researchers are focusing on three research questions:

  1. What are proper teaching practices? Identify the specific techniques and methods that promote the growth mindset.
  2. How can we motivate teachers? After identifying appropriate practices, one must motivate teachers to adopt and implement them.
  3. How can the change be sustained? Even when teachers are motivated and know the right practices, the next challenge is helping them maintain them in the long term.

Case in point: the Texas Mindset Initiative

A notable example that addresses these three questions is the Texas Mindset Initiative. This project focuses on creating more inclusive learning environments for students with an emphasis on the role of mindset. By encouraging a 'growth mindset' among students, TxMI encourages a vision where challenges are seen as opportunities for growth and development. To date, TxMI has built partnerships with faculty, piloted educational innovations, and launched a series of successful programs, such as the Faculty Scholarship Program and the ULA Program. These efforts have helped raise awareness of the importance of an inclusive mindset and led to tangible changes in university education (read more).

Next research questions

Mindset research is a work in progress. There are still four central questions that need to be answered:

  1. What is the combination of student- and teacher-centered interventions? Which combinations of training and interventions are most effective?
  2. How can we improve the quality of measurements? More accurate measurements of both the intended, implemented, and perceived culture are essential.
  3. How can we use advanced tools? With advancements in technology, new tools can assist teachers in their work.
  4. How can we adapt to different cultural contexts? Interventions that work in the West may not be as effective in other cultures. It is crucial to develop locally relevant interventions.


Addressing educational inequalities requires more than just revising education policies. It requires a shift in mindset, both from students and teachers. Promoting a 'growth mindset' is essential here, but it requires careful research, adaptation and perseverance. By focusing on the 'growth mindset' we can take steps towards global educational equality.