An Evaluation of Growing Early Mindsets (GEM™)
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A growing body of literature and research emphasizes the importance of developing student mindsets and social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies (metacognitive learning skills) across the prenatal (P) to graduate school (20) (P-20) continuum to increase student motivation, engagement, achievement, and overall well-being. There is, however, an absence of research investigating the impact of braiding growth mindset, SEL, and mindfulness principles and practices together on early elementary student and teacher outcomes. The purpose of my dissertation is to measure the impact of a new PreK–3rd curriculum called Growing Early Mindsets (GEM™) (Coates, in publication) on student and teacher outcomes across the K–3rd continuum in two districts in Oregon. Data collected during the 2014–15 Mindset Works’ study of Growing Early Mindsets (GEM™) was used. Classrooms were assigned to experimental (implemented GEM™) and control groups and given pretest and posttest measures to measure the impact of GEM™ on students’ approaches to learning, social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies, and literacy skills as well as on teacher mindsets, perceptions, confidence, and motivation. Results were statistically significant for students’ approaches to learning and SEL competencies as measured by Teacher Reports and teacher’s beliefs as measured by the Teacher Mindset Survey. Results were not statistically significant for students’ approaches to learning and SEL competencies as measured by Student Surveys, nor students’ oral reading fluency as measured by district-administered oral reading fluency measures. All experimental teachers reported that GEM™ changed their perceptions of their own and others’ learning and growth, increased their confidence to integrate growth mindset and SEL practices, and increased their motivation to improve their overall teaching practices. While the results are somewhat promising, the findings raise many questions that need further exploration.