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Mind Matters: Self-Theories of Intelligence and Socio-Economic Status

Faculty Supervisor:
Paul Lewis
Year of Project Completion:
Kiley Schmidt


Thoughts can have dramatic effects on our everyday behavior. One example of this is the influence of self-theories of intelligence on academic achievement. There are two main self-theories, entity and incremental. Entity theorists have the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait while incremental theorists hold the belief that intelligence is malleable and can change depending on effort. Little has been researched on how these theories develop and what contextual variables might factor into these theories. In the current study 4 fifth grade classrooms from 2 elementary schools differing in socioeconomic status (SES) were tested using a math test and self-theories questionnaire. School was found to be a predictor of self-theories, with the lower SES school containing more incremental theorists and the middle SES school having more entity theorists.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.