Growth Goals and Growth Mindset in Today's Classroom: Why and How Do They Matter?

Deans lecture series 2018

The more students are denied a sense of academic success, the less motivated and engaged they become. As most students are assessed on how they compare to other students, many of them do not experience academic ‘success’: there is usually someone in the class who has outperformed them. Under a growth approach, a student focuses on his/her own learning. That is, rather than focusing on outperforming others, the student focuses on outperforming himself or herself. Although they may not outperform peers, they can outperform their own previous efforts and achievement. This focus on ‘personal best’ and ‘personal excellence’ gives every student the chance to experience commendable educational progress, irrespective of whether they do better than other students.

This presentation explores two key strategies for pursuing a growth approach: growth mindset and growth goals. It will also examine their role in boosting students’ academic achievement and engagement, including for academically at-risk students. Numerous successful growth strategies will be suggested for educators and parents to help optimise students’ academic potential. With a focus on growth, school is no longer a place of the academic ‘haves and have-nots’; instead, it is a place where students can feel good about themselves for the commendable personal progress they make.

Professor Andrew J. Martin

Andrew J. Martin, PhD, is Scientia Professor, Professor of Educational Psychology, and Co-Chair of the Educational Psychology Research Group in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He specialises in motivation, engagement, achievement, and quantitative research methods. He is also Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and Fellow of the (Australian) College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists.