Gender Differences in Growth Mindset, Group Identity, and Social Skills

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Jacklyn Schlender
Kevin Tan
Kate Wegmann


Promoting a growth academic mindset among high school students is associated with numerous positive life outcomes including overcoming obstacles, cultivating grit, taking risks, celebrating personal growth, and so on. This study specifically focuses on understanding the ways social skills and social identity relate to mindsets. Additionally, it is not known if these relations differ between male and female students. Gender differences may exist because of their different socialization process, resulting in varying levels of academic mindsets. Based on a cohort of students from one high school in urban New Jersey (n=285), gender differences in the relations among social skills, sense of social identity, and their levels of academic mindsets were examined. Preliminary analysis indicates female students report a marginally significant higher levels of growth mindsets than males (mean = 2.69, sd = 0.28 vs. mean = 2.61, sd =0.30; p ≤ .10). For female students, the level of social skills is significantly correlated with their social group identity (r = 0.23, p ≤ .05). Group identity is significantly correlated with their mindset (r = 0.24, p ≤ .05). For male students, only the level of social skills is correlated with their group identity (r = 0.36, p ≤ .01). Additional work is ongoing to understand the relations among mindsets, social skills and social identity. Implications for educators in promoting student’s growth mindsets will be discussed.

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