While the importance of STEM education has been increasingly emphasized, many still believe that mathematics ability is innate. In an article recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, Su and colleagues examined how mindsets affected Chinese primary school students’ math achievement.
There were 466 fifth graders from two public primary schools in Urumqi who participated in this study. Participants completed a survey assessing their intelligence mindsets, math self-efficacy, and failure beliefs. The study also obtained their math achievement by the Urumqi’s assessment of education quality in the spring term of fifth grade. The analysis showed that:
- Male students’ math self-efficacy and level of growth mindsets were significantly higher than female students.
- However, male students were not different to female students in levels of failure beliefs and math grades.
- Growth mindset had a significant positive effect on math achievement, which were mediated by math self-efficacy and failure beliefs.
The authors suggested that the study highlighted the critical mediating roles of failure beliefs and math self-efficacy since growth mindsets exert influences on math achievement through them. In other words, mindsets could exert important impacts to math achievement when students faced challenges by having higher self-efficacy.
Source: Su, A., Wan, S., He, W., & Dong, L. (2021). Effect of intelligence mindsets on math achievement for chinese primary school students: Math self-efficacy and failure beliefs as mediators. Frontiers in Psychology ,12:640349. Doi: doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.640349.