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A call for revolution in education research

Workshop will showcase a growth-mindset classroom culture

Students across the U.S. are returning to classrooms after a year of remote learning — millions of them months or even a full year behind. Armed with COVID-19 relief funds, schools are trying to meet students’ increased needs with a wide range of interventions while the Biden administration has called on Congress to invest $9 billion in American teachers to address shortages, improve training and supports, and boost teacher diversity as part of the massive American Families Plan.

“Schools are desperately seeking strategies that will increase learning, close achievement gaps and reduce inequities,” said Northwestern University statistician Elizabeth Tipton. “The research community needs to work fast to determine which strategies are likely to be effective. We can only meet these needs if we reconceive how we conduct studies.”

Tipton co-directs the STEPP Center with education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges. STEPP stands for statistics for evidence-based policy and practice.

Tipton will join researchers from other leading institutions to share the latest insights on efforts to study one such intervention at the international Growth Mindset Workshop Sept. 2 and 3. The virtual event is open to Northwestern students, scholars and the public. Register for the event here.

Hosted by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Yidan Prize Foundation, the workshop will showcase experts developing what a growth-mindset classroom culture looks like and how it might be evaluated in future research projects.

A growth mindset is the belief that a person’s intellectual abilities are not fixed and can be further developed.

A growth mindset is the belief that a person’s intellectual abilities are not fixed and can be further developed. Notable for its methodology to investigate the difference, or heterogeneity, in treatment effects, the National Study of Learning Mindsets is a turning point for future studies and what they might reveal about determining more precisely when, where and for whom an intervention works best.

The initiative is led by researchers from The University of Texas at Austin; Stanford University; Northwestern University; University of Michigan; University of California, Davis; Universidad Católica de Chile; Penn State University; Washington State University; and University of Maryland, College Park.

This preliminary work, funded by the Yidan Prize Foundation, is propelling the research agenda of the Global Mindset Initiative, an international collaboration of leaders and researchers in education, social psychology and behavioral economics, organized around a shared vision of improving education and educational equality through action-based research.

The STEPP Center, housed within the Institute for Policy Research, was founded in 2019 to facilitate collaboration between statisticians, researchers, policymakers and practitioners using evidence to guide decisions, with a focus on education and the applied social sciences. It was made possible by the 2018 Yidan Prize for Education Research awarded to Hedges.