Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Vicki L. Underwood


Recent research based on the Dweck’s mindset theory has shown that persons with a growth mindset who believe traits such as intelligence are malleable may put forth more effort and have greater academic success than those with a fixed mindset. However, little research has been conducted on mindsets of college students, many of whom enter underprepared for the rigors of college-level work and are required to take developmental education courses as an intervention to reduce the inequalities of underprepared college students. A quasi experimental mixed design with ANOVA and t tests was used to examine how growth mindset awareness training affected mindsets of 739 developmental and nondevelopmental education students in their first term of enrollment at a career-focused 2-year college. The majority (79%) of participants’ pretest mindset scores were toward the growth end of the fixed-growth continuum. There were no significant pretest differences between developmental and nondevelopmental education groups. Training was not differentially effective for the groups; mean mindset scores of both groups increased, moving toward a growth mindset. The overall mean posttest mindset score was significantly higher than pretest (p < .001), indicating that students’ scores moved away from fixed and toward growth mindsets. Finding that the majority of students, both nondevelopmental and developmental, began college with a mostly growth mindset may indicate that these new college students already possessed the noncognitive skills needed to succeed and instead would benefit from assistance applying the skills. Positive social change may be achieved through a more proactive method of using mindset awareness training during new student orientation and later within programs to better engage all students in purposeful use of their mindsets to meet their academic and career goals.