Fixed And Growth Mindset In Education And How Grit Helps Students Persist In The Face Of Adversity

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Aaron Hochanadel
Dora Finamore


Grit, Retention, Growth Mindset, Online Education


Students face a wealth of challenges in college for example a lack of support, sometimes making it difficult to persevere.  However, in an academic environment that teaches grit and fosters growth, students can learn to persist. Those who believe intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed exert less effort to succeed. Students who persevere when faced with challenges and adversity seem to have what Angela Duckworth calls, grit. This is the idea behind a growth mindset in learning according to Dweck (1999, 2007, 2010) and Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, and Kelly (2007). Grit can be defined as “…passion and perseverance for long-term goals…” (Frontiers In Psychology, 2014).  One grit effect study was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Army and the University of Pennsylvania to create predictors of retention.

The purpose of this present work is to explore researched competencies related to persistence in reaching academic goals, review literature in grit and growth mindset related to learning and persistence, and examine what educators can do to foster grit and a growth mindset.  Recommendations for increasing persistence and grit in college students will be provided.


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