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Mindsets: The Influence of Intelligence Theories on Educational Outcomes
Last registered on July 26, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Mindsets: The Influence of Intelligence Theories on Educational Outcomes
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004479
Initial registration date
July 24, 2019
Last updated
July 26, 2019 4:37 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Fundação Getulio Vargas
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-08-01
End date
2020-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This project seeks to assess how an intervention - growth mindset workshops for 5th grade teachers - impacts teachers’ ways of thinking about their own attitudes, and how these changes impact their attitudes toward students in the classroom, and, consequently, students’ results. Specifically, we would like to understand the impact of issues related to teachers’ mindsets that are particular to the context of students in vulnerable situations (such as in public schools of Rio de Janeiro municipality, Brazil). For this purpose, we ran a two-level clustered randomized experiment with treatment at the second (school) level. We randomly selected 50% of 178 candidate schools from the municipality into a treatment group and the other 50% into a control group. The randomization was done by pairing, using the predicted value of the students' results inferred from the characteristics of the schools in previous years. Next, we will assess how much teachers’ and their students’ mindsets changed as a result of the intervention. We will also measure, through classroom observations, how teachers’ practices, performance and dynamics within their classes are being impacted by the intervention. Finally, we will look at how this process ultimately affects student scores in standardized tests. This experiment allows us to address the following set of questions: do teachers working with students in vulnerable social contexts change their pedagogical practices after the proposed intervention? Do such changes influence the outcomes of their students? Do these changes ameliorate students’, classes’ and schools’ achievement gaps? Ultimately, we believe that investigating the entire causal chain linking the teacher's shift in mindset to eventual reductions in academic performance inequalities within the classroom is critical to maximizing the impacts of such interventions.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Cruz, Tassia. 2019. "Mindsets: The Influence of Intelligence Theories on Educational Outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4479-1.0.
Former Citation
Cruz, Tassia. 2019. "Mindsets: The Influence of Intelligence Theories on Educational Outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4479/history/50742.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention was a structured workshop of 5 weeks to elementary education teachers with the objective of promoting pedagogical practices with "growth mindset". Our hypothesis is that, in promoting changes in the beliefs about the intelligence, the implementation of mindset workshops helps teachers in their pedagogical practices to improve student learning. The workshops included discussions about brain functioning and their relation to the concept of mindset, the re-signification of error as fundamental to the learning process, and the elaboration of strategies to deal with error and frustration in the learning process. Finally, the workshops dealt with the role of effort and the concept of “stereotype threat” (Steele and Aronson 1995) in vulnerable contexts.
Intervention Start Date
2019-03-13
Intervention End Date
2019-04-11
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will evaluate the impact of the intervention on student performance.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will use the database of the national student performance standardized exam (SAEB). The national exam will be applied in all Brazilian public 5th grade schools by the end of October 2019.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We are also interested in analyzing (i) teachers’ mindsets, (ii) teaching practices, and (iii) students’ mindsets.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
By the end of 2019 (around November), we will apply questionnaires to teachers and students from all of the candidate schools to measure differences in behavior between the control and treatment groups, thus assessing the extent of change in attitudes toward intelligence generated by the participation of the teachers in the five week workshop. These questionnaires measure, through scales, the extent of the participant’s growth mindset according to a multidimensional definition of this concept. We have prepared our questionnaires by adapting sections of different published questionnaires. It was necessary, however, to revise many of the items to our specific context, adjusting their language and references to the realities of Brazilian students and teachers. In addition, it was necessary to translate the questions to Portuguese, a process that involved the translation of the same items simultaneously by two different translators, who then worked together to write a consensual version. Since individual’s mindsets are also manifested in their attitudes, the questionnaires ask additional questions about teachers’ and students’ opinions and behaviors. Finally, each questionnaire included questions aimed at measuring how sincere participants were, in order to deal with potential bias of "social desirability" of the questions. A first version of the questionnaires was applied to the pilot group, in 2018. The analysis of the response data served to generate final versions of the teachers and students’ questionnaires, which will be used in the 2019 data collection.

Furthermore, what happens inside the classroom is central for the students’ learning process. In order to measure changes in teachers’ pedagogical practices as a result of the transformations in their conceptions of intelligence resulting from the mindset workshops, we will use the TEACH+ observation instrument in the classroom. The TEACH+ instrument is designed and adapted to the Brazilian context by specialists of the TEACH and Stallings classroom observation methods (Bruns, Costa & Cunha, 2018; Molina et al. al., 2018). TEACH+ seeks to measure the time teachers spend in the learning processes, the extent to which students remain attentive to their tasks, and the quality of teaching techniques that help to develop students’ social and emotional skills.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We ran a two-level clustered randomized experiment with treatment at the second (school) level. We randomly selected 50% of 178 candidate schools from the municipality to the treatment group and the other 50% to the control group. The randomization was done by pairing, using the predicted value of the students’ results inferred from the characteristics of the schools in previous years. It is estimated that schools have the harmonic average of 60 students in the 5th grade, divided on average in two classes, according to data from 2018.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The randomization is clustered at the school level: Students within classes, within schools.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
178 schools with one or two 5th grade classes from the municipal public network of Rio de Janeiro were evenly and randomly distributed into the treatment and control groups.
Sample size: planned number of observations
A total sample of 323 teachers and approximately 10,852 students (taking the standardized test in 2019).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
89 schools were selected to the treatment group and another 89 to the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our MDES is 0.13 for Mathematics, and 0.12 for Language results in student standardized test.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Comitê de Conformidade Ética em Pesquisas Envolvendo Seres Humanos – CEPH/FGV
IRB Approval Date
2018-09-04
IRB Approval Number
Parecer n. 64/2018