Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Biological Sciences

Document Type



Every student has a different mindset, or their own way of viewing challenges and setbacks. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a specific feedback intervention on student mindset and achievement in a middle school life science course. Several tests were used to compare the data at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year. These tests included mindset, competency in science, attitudes about learning science, and life science content knowledge. The control group was taught by the use of lecture, note-taking, and life science activities. The experimental group was taught using the same instruction, and in addition the students participated in a mindset intervention involving specific, constructive feedback. The intervention was termed growth conferences. There were no significant differences in the pre versus post scores for mindset, competency in science, or attitude towards science. These data suggest that utilizing individual growth conferences for one semester in a middle school life science setting was not effective for creating significant changes in mindset, competency in science, attitude towards science, or life science content knowledge. The control group’s GPA did decrease significantly from sixth to seventh grade, while the experimental group’s GPA remained the same from sixth to seventh grade. When the gifted class’ data was removed from the control group’s GPA there was not a significant difference from sixth to seventh grade. This indicated that the students in the control group, mainly the gifted students, needed a mindset intervention, and that the mindset intervention may have prevented the experimental group’s GPA from decreasing over the year. There were also data to support that as mindset increased, so did life science content knowledge and performance. If the present study were to be repeated the intervention should be more frequent, perhaps a weekly group intervention, instead of individual conferences. This would allow for the students to experience the intervention for more time throughout one semester or a school year.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wischusen, William