Educational Attainment Post-Pandemic: An Examination of Growth Mindset Language and Strategies in Graduate Students

George Hanshaw, Todd Pheifer, Roxanne Helm-Stevens


This paper examines growth mindset, an evidence-based strategy posited by Carol Dweck (2007), within the framework of a classroom at a private, faith-based university. In a post-pandemic time where many students and people have felt adverse effects on their ability to adapt, this research studies the impact of mindset language and strategies on a student’s internal locus of control. The specific question the researchers posited was, does growth mindset language and strategies within a graduate-level class affect a student’s internal locus of control?

Participants in this study were Master of Business Management students taking an online employee development course at Azusa Pacific University. The online course was modified to use growth mindset language and strategies. Changes in language focused on effort, starting with the syllabus and project instructions and continuing throughout the course. For example, language used in the weekly overviews focused on effort and explaining why effort was important.

Survey results indicated that the graduate students did not report an increase in their level of growth mindset or locus of control. This is hypothetically due to the high level of growth mindset and internal locus of control already felt by the participants. This moves the focus for graduate students from mindset to the environment they are learning in, including the level of psychological safety felt by the students in the classroom.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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