Changing Pupils' Mindsets [completed] plus Effectiveness Trial [completed]

This project is based on theories that children hold about their intelligence, in particular whether it is a fixed entity or a malleable quality that can be developed. It is based specifically on research carried out by Carol Dweck in the United States which found that those who agreed with the idea that 'you can always change how intelligent you are' out-performed similar peers who believed that 'you have a certain amount of intelligence and you can't do much to change it'. The project, which is being delivered by psychologists at Portsmouth University is testing two models of changing the way pupils think about themselves and their intelligence: a nine week course of mentoring and workshops with Year 5 pupils (with pupils allocated to test and control groups); and training teachers in how to teach pupils about the malleability of their intelligence and how to reinforce this in their lessons. It is one of a large number of projects funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to address educational disadvantage. NIESR is evaluating this pilot intervention on behalf of the EEF through a randomised control trial and a process evaluation.


32 schools are involved in the project - 5 in the pupil level intervention and 27 in the teacher training intervention. The outcome measures for both interventions are provided by GL Assessments: the Progress in English (PiE) and Measuring Success in Maths. Changes in 'Mindset' are measured using Carol Dweck’s original items, utilising a 5 point likert scale.

NIESR is evaluating the impact of the interventions, using these test scores. We are also conducting a process evaluation which is establishing fidelity of the delivery, exploring teachers' experiences of the programme and assessing potential for wider roll-out.

Timescale and funder

The evaluation is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. It began in 2012 and was completed in 2014 when the final report was published.

More information is and output is available about the project on the EEF website project page

Effectiveness trial report (2019)

NIESR blog by Johnny Runge: Making good progress? Putting formative assessment to the test

Research programmes