In a recent study on the role of growth and performance mindsets in predicting achievement and conduct among middle-school students researchers found a negative correlation between growth mindset and academic achievement – that is, students who expressed the strongest commitment to integrity in their academic work got the lowest grades, on average, and those who were willing to compromise ethical standards by engaging in cheating and plagiarism got the highest grades. What’s going on here? The researchers speculate that this troubling effect may be an unintended side effect of the three schools’ (largely laudable) emphasis on grades, academic achievement, and college readiness. This included one school’s public celebration and special T-shirts for students who did well on interim assessments. “Put another way,” say the researchers, “students are more likely to compromise their integrity in school communities that place an intensive emphasis on performance.”
Adapted from the Marshall Memo 500 (September 2, 2013) article #4. Links between Character, School Connectedness, Conduct, and Grades, originally named “The Role of Moral and Performance Character Strengths in Predicting Achievement and Conduct Among Urban Middle-School Students” by Scott Seider, Sarah Novick, Jessica Gomez, and Jennifer Gilbert in Teachers College Record, Aug 2013 (Vol. 115, #8, p. 1-34), http://bit.ly/17uZa2i; Seider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.