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M-LoCUS: A Scalable Intervention Enhances Growth Mindset and Internal Locus of Control in Undergraduate Students in STEM

    Authors: Dhiraj Nallapothula1, Jennifer Berdan Lozano2, Selina Han1, Carlos Herrera1, Hannah Whang Sayson2, Marc Levis-Fitzgerald2, Jeffrey Maloy1,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Life Sciences Core Education, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095; 2: Center for Educational Assessment, Center for the Advancement of Teaching, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 02 October 2019 Accepted 10 April 2020 Published 29 May 2020
    • ©2020 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Life Sciences Core Education, UCLA College of Letters and Sciences, 243 Hershey Hall, 612 Charles E. Young Dr. South, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7246. Phone: 310-794-9890. Fax: 310-825-8290. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2020 vol. 21 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i2.1987
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    Abstract:

    Student self-beliefs regarding intelligence and ability have been shown to correspond to achievement and persistence in an academic domain. Specifically, previous research has suggested that a growth mindset—or the belief that intelligence is malleable and can increase with effort—is associated with student success. Locus of control is a related but distinct self-belief regarding personal agency over various academic and nonacademic outcomes and has also been associated with study skills and academic persistence. However, academic interventions targeting student mindsets and loci of control have remained relatively underexplored, specifically in the context of undergraduate STEM education. Here, we describe the development and assessment of an intervention encouraging students to adopt a growth mindset and internal locus of control. This five-part intervention is administered entirely online and is therefore independent of individual instructor variability. We administered the intervention in five introductory biology courses and show that the intervention was successful in impacting student mindsets and loci of control across various demographics.

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2020-05-29
2020-07-10

Abstract:

Student self-beliefs regarding intelligence and ability have been shown to correspond to achievement and persistence in an academic domain. Specifically, previous research has suggested that a growth mindset—or the belief that intelligence is malleable and can increase with effort—is associated with student success. Locus of control is a related but distinct self-belief regarding personal agency over various academic and nonacademic outcomes and has also been associated with study skills and academic persistence. However, academic interventions targeting student mindsets and loci of control have remained relatively underexplored, specifically in the context of undergraduate STEM education. Here, we describe the development and assessment of an intervention encouraging students to adopt a growth mindset and internal locus of control. This five-part intervention is administered entirely online and is therefore independent of individual instructor variability. We administered the intervention in five introductory biology courses and show that the intervention was successful in impacting student mindsets and loci of control across various demographics.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Social cognitive career theory model showing connection between student characteristics, learning experiences, interest development, and performance. Nodes predicted to interact with student mindsets and loci of control are outlined in green and blue, respectively.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2020 vol. 21 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i2.1987
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

A) Percentages of students self-identifying with a growth, neutral, and fixed mindset. B) Percentages of students self-identifying with an internal, neutral, and external LoC. C) Density plot showing the distribution of student mindset self-ratings (on a 10 to 1 scale, with 10 representing a completely fixed mindset and 1 representing a completely growth mindset). D) Density plot showing the distribution of student LoC self-ratings (on a 10 to 1 scale, with 10 representing a completely external LoC and 1 representing a completely internal LoC). Dotted lines represent the median self-rating of all respondents.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2020 vol. 21 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i2.1987
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Magnitude of shifts in mindset (A) and LoC (B) over the course of the intervention, by pre-intervention self-ratings. Colored bars indicate percentages of students who started in a given mindset or LoC category (x-axis) and shifted 3 or more points toward a growth mindset or internal LoC (yellow), 2 points toward a growth mindset or internal LoC (blue), 1 point toward a growth mindset or internal LoC (purple), did not shift (orange), or shifted toward a fixed mindset or external LoC (pink).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2020 vol. 21 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i2.1987
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