Evaluation of a Growth Mindset Intervention in Bangladesh Secondary Schools
Last registered on February 19, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Evaluation of a Growth Mindset Intervention in Bangladesh Secondary Schools
Initial registration date
July 11, 2017
Last updated
February 19, 2018 2:36 PM EST
Primary Investigator
Duke University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Belief in one’s own ability to succeed in school can have large impacts on educational investment. Growth mindset interventions, which aim to increase individuals’ perceived abilities to learn, have been shown to reverse downward grade trajectories among low performing students in the United States. Despite evidence for their potential success in developing countries, no such intervention has been tested. This randomized trial will test whether a growth mindset intervention changes grade trajectories for secondary school students in Bangladesh, and by use of a novel placebo design, will increase our understanding of the mechanisms behind growth mindset's effects.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Polley, Thomas. 2018. "Evaluation of a Growth Mindset Intervention in Bangladesh Secondary Schools." AEA RCT Registry. February 19. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2321/history/25920
Experimental Details
4 weekly 1-hour sessions led by trained teachers from outside the study school.
(Sample: students in levels 6, 7 and 8 in two large secondary schools in Dhaka city)

Growth mindset sessions:
Sessions will be interactive lectures designed to teach the core concepts of growth mindset to students. These concepts include basic brain anatomy/function, plasticity of the brain (the brain can physically become stronger and more efficient when you work on learning new things), discussion of the value of effort/grit, strategies for coping with challenges and failure (re-framing, trying new strategies, working with others, etc...) and study skills (concept based learning, practice, etc...).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
6 monthly math quizzes (3 pre, 3 post), written and graded by our team.
Attendance and other grades provided by the schools.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
1000 students in levels 6, 7 and 8 from 2 large secondary schools in Dhaka city will be randomly assigned to the treatment, placebo or control condition. For one hour per week, over the first 4 weeks of the fall semester, students will participate in 1 hour intervention sessions according to their assignment. Students assigned to treatment will receive a traditional growth mindset treatment, those in the placebo group will receive a modified version designed to help disentangle the mechanisms behind growth mindset, and students in the control group will get supervised study time.
Experimental Design Details
Placebo: Intervention will be same as Growth mindset but instead of teaching plasticity of the brain we will teach memory formation, an alternate topic on the brain that is related to learning but that makes no comment on whether the brain can physically be improved. The current growth mindset literature explains that the impact of growth mindset interventions is largely due to changing students beliefs about the malleability of intelligence. Our placebo will make no attempt to change these beliefs, thus, any difference will be due to the teaching of plasticity. If we find no difference between placebo and control it will suggest that teaching plasticity is not as important as previously thought. Other studies have included placebo without placebo, however these placebos also left out other key elements of the growth mindset intervention, namely a discussion of the value of effort/grit and strategies for coping with challenges and failure (re-framing, trying new strategies, working with others, etc...), thus we cannot conclude that the impact measured in these studies was due to plasticity alone.
Randomization Method
Office computer, stratifying on key covariates identified in baseline data.
Randomization Unit

We randomize at the student level, then separate students by assignment and treat them in groups. However this is not a traditional clustered randomized trial where clusters are endogenously formed. Also note, students will only remain in these "clusters" during treatment then will return to their usual classroom assignments. (thus i have chosen not clustered below)
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Outcome: Monthly Math quizzes (max score, 25 points). MDE: 0.3 points, 0.06 SD, 1.2% Note: This is about one third the size of effects reported in previous growth mindset studies.
IRB Name
Duke University Campus Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Analysis plan.docx

MD5: c4d1d5569d82fd70623cbc21622a1e8b

SHA1: 0ff197ae15a86d18f4e3f6fabe7eb5974409ead7

Uploaded At: February 19, 2018

Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
August 31, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers