Strength Braining: An Innovation Countering Fifth-Grade Underachievement in Mathematics Through Growth Mindset and Self-Regulation

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The problem of practice addressed in this mixed methods action research study is the underachievement of fifth-grade students in mathematics. This study explores the effects of an innovation designed to

The problem of practice addressed in this mixed methods action research study is the underachievement of fifth-grade students in mathematics. This study explores the effects of an innovation designed to help students develop a growth mindset by utilizing self-regulation strategies to improve academic growth in mathematics. Students’ underachievement in mathematics has been illustrated by both state and international assessments. Throughout the decades, mathematics instruction and reforms have varied, but overall students’ psychological needs have been neglected. This innovation was designed to develop students’ psychological characteristics regarding facing challenges in mathematics. For this purpose, two guiding theories were utilized to frame this research study, Dweck’s mindset theory and self-regulation theory. To address the research questions of this study, pre- and post-questionnaire data, observational data and student work was analyzed. Results of the qualitative data indicated that the innovation positively impacted students’ mindsets and use of self-regulation strategies. However, quantitative data indicated the innovation had no effect on students’ use of self-regulation strategies or academic growth, and a negative impact on students’ mindsets.