Growth mindset for intelligence

Scale: Revised Implicit Theories of Intelligence (Self-Theory) Scale

What it measures:

  • The youth’s beliefs about his or her inability to change his or her intelligence (i.e., the absence of a “growth mindset”).

Intended age range: 12- to 19-year-olds.

Brief description: This measure, which is a revision of Carol Dweck’s original scale, consists of two subscales: Entity Self Beliefs (4 items) and Incremental Self Beliefs (4 items). Sample items include: “I don’t think I personally can do much to increase my intelligence” (Entity Self Beliefs) and “With enough time and effort I think I could significantly improve my intelligence level” (Incremental Self Beliefs). Youth respond on a 6-point scale: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Mostly disagree, Mostly agree, Agree, or Strongly agree.

Rationale: The classic Dweck measure of growth mindset has been used much more often than the recommended measure. However, the personalized framing of items in the recommended scale (e.g., “I cannot change my own intelligence”) seems more amenable to change through mentoring program participation than the third-person framing in Dweck’s measure (“People in general cannot change their intelligence”). Scores on this newer measure also have been found to predict several key academic measures (e.g., truancy, disengagement, self-reported grades) above and beyond scores on the original Dweck scale.

Cautions: Younger youth and those with less developed cognitive abilities may experience difficulty responding to questions on this topic.

Special administration information: None.

How to score: Items are scored from 1 (Strongly disagree) to 6 (Strongly agree). The youth’s score on the measure is obtained by reverse scoring the 4 items on the Incremental Self Beliefs scale, then averaging ratings across all 8 items.

How to interpret findings: Higher scores reflect a stronger belief on the part of the youth that he or she can't do much to change his or her own intelligence.

Access and permissions: The measure is available for non-commercial use with no charge and is made available here.

Alternatives: Dweck’s original measure of “growth mindset” is also a viable option and is noted as appropriate for youth 10 years and older. The full measure can be found here. A shorter 3-item version that includes only the items referring to fixed views of intelligence can be found in Dweck’s book, Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development, or here.

Citation: De Castella, K., & Byrne, D. (2015). My intelligence may be more malleable than yours: The Revised Implicit Theories of Intelligence (Self-Theory) Scale is a better predictor of achievement, motivation, and student disengagement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30, 245–267.

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