Wings of Growth: A Mindset Intervention in Rural China

Last registered on April 16, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Wings of Growth: A Mindset Intervention in Rural China
Initial registration date
April 04, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
April 16, 2024, 11:17 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator

Monash University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Sydney
PI Affiliation
Beijing Normal University
PI Affiliation
University of Technology Sydney
PI Affiliation
Monash University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In the past decade, mindset nudges aiming to instill optimistic beliefs about the role of effort in success and enhance resilience to failure and setbacks have gained prominence in the field of economics. We test the effectiveness of an intensive growth mindset intervention implemented across 18 middle schools in rural China, with over one third of the participants experiencing parental absence. Through a carefully structured 6-week curriculum, drawing on validated materials from past experiments, our aim is to evaluate the effect of the intervention as an additional school input, examining how its impact would differ based on varying levels of parental input. We plan to measure the intervention’s influence on the short-term and medium-term academic achievements of students, along with associated shifts in modes of thinking, disciplinary behavior, socio-emotional skills and future aspirations. Additionally, we will run supplementary experiments post-intervention to check whether the treated students are more likely to exhibit traits related to the concept they have learned.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Incekara Hafalir, Elif et al. 2024. "Wings of Growth: A Mindset Intervention in Rural China." AEA RCT Registry. April 16.
Experimental Details


The whole intervention consists of six lectures which helps students to internalize the idea of the growth mindset. The lectures will be delivered on consecutive weeks, with an estimated duration of an hour for each.

The lectures are structured based on three key components:
1. Incremental theory of intelligence (Dweck and Leggett 1988) (L1)
2. Downplaying external constraints & encouraging routinized effort and
perseverance (L2, L3, L4)
3. Tools that operationalize the growth mindset (L2, L3, L5, L6)

The lectures will be delivered through compelling scientific evidence, lively videos, mini case studies, and other in-class activities. Additionally, we will assign after-class assignments to provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Academic performance (short term & long term)
Socio-emotional skills (self-esteem, locus of control, etc.)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment will be conducted in 18 middle schools in a local county in China, with more than one third of the students suffering from parental absence (being "left behind"). In each school, two cohorts are invited to participate in our study: students in grade 7 (who entered middle school in September 2022) and grade 8 (who entered middle school in September 2021).

Our experiment involves one treatment and one control. To avoid imbalances in treatment assignment and increase precision of the estimates, we employ stratified randomization at the class level. The classes will be stratified by school year and the number of students that are left behind (below/above median).

The timeline of our intervention is as follows. We initiate student recruitment two weeks prior to the intervention to allow sufficient time for head teachers to secure consent from students and their parents. Concurrently, the recruitment of instructors will also be launched in collaboration with the local Education Bureau. The entire recruitment process is expected to be completed within a two-week timeframe. One weeks ahead the intervention, our research team will visit each school to run the baseline survey. Training sessions are scheduled on that week.

Our intervention period spans 6 weeks, during which the students in the treated classes will participate in a well-designed curriculum centered around the growth mindset. Through compelling scientific evidence, lively videos, mini case studies, and other in-class activities, we emphasize the benefits of cultivating a growth mindset and provide practical tools to operationalize this mode of thinking. Additionally, we will assign after-class assignments to provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned. Meanwhile, students in the control group will continue attending their regular class meetings as usual.

To avoid the direct priming from course material, our endline survey and supplementary experiment will be carried out one week after the intervention.

Since our interest lies in both the short term and medium-term effect of the intervention, we will track the academic performance of these students in the following semesters, utilizing the school administrative data.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in Stata
Randomization Unit
class level randomization
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
76 classes
Sample size: planned number of observations
around 3000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
41 classes in treatment and 35 classes in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The MDE is 0.23 SD based on the assumption that the ICC is 0.09.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number