Angie and collaborators publish on mindset applicability

  • May 10, 2019
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PERL members  Angie Little, Bridget Humphrey, Abigail Green, Abhilash Nair, and Vashti Sawtelle published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Exploring mindset’s applicability to students’ experiences with challenge in transformed college physics courses.

Abstract: The mindset literature is a longstanding area of psychological research focused on beliefs about intelligence, response to challenge, and goals for learning. However, the mindset literature’s applicability to the context of college physics has not been widely studied. In this paper we narrow our focus toward students’ descriptions of their responses to challenge in college physics. We ask the research question, “can we see responses to challenge in college physics that resemble that of the mindset literature?” In addressing this question, it is also necessary to ask, “how do students express evidence of challenge?” and “to what extent is this evidence similar or different to the mindset literature?” To answer these questions, we developed a novel coding scheme for interview dialogue around college physics challenge and students’ responses to it. In this paper we present the development process of our coding scheme. We find that it is possible to see student descriptions of their responses to challenge that resemble the mindset literature’s characterizations. However, college physics challenges are frequently different than those studied in the mindset literature. We show that, in the landscape of college physics challenges, mindset beliefs cannot always be considered to be the dominant factor in how students respond to challenge. Broadly, our coding scheme helps the field move beyond broad Likert-scale survey measures of students’ mindset beliefs.