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Growth Mindset for 9th Graders

Growth Mindset for 9th Graders seeks to teach adolescents that intellectual abilities are not fixed but capable of growth with dedicated effort. The program focuses on reducing negative beliefs about effort (e.g., having to try hard or ask for help means you lack ability), fixed-trait attributions (e.g., failure stems from low ability), and performance avoidance goals (e.g., never looking stupid). During regular school hours, students complete two self-administered online sessions that last approximately 25 minutes each and occur roughly 20 days apart. The first session starts in weeks 2-5 of the fall or spring semester, and the second session starts in weeks 5-10 of the same semesters. The sessions include scientific information but also ask students to help in communicating these ideas to others and to apply them to their own life.

The first session covers the basic idea of a growth mindset – that an individual’s intellectual abilities can be developed by taking on challenging work, improving one’s learning strategies, and asking for appropriate help. The second session invites students to deepen their understanding of the growth mindset and its application in their lives. Students are not told outright that they should work hard or employ particular study or learning strategies. Rather, effort and strategy revision are described as general behaviors through which students can develop their abilities and thereby achieve their goals.

Since the intervention is computerized, materials can be delivered as designed without extensive researcher involvement or facilitator training and geographic constraints and logistical burdens are reduced, thereby providing scalable techniques to improve students’ approach to learning and achievement in high school.

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating Growth Mindset for 9th Graders.

Yeager et al. (2016) conducted a randomized controlled trial with 3,676 ninth-grade students in 10 high schools in 4 states. Participants were randomly assigned to the growth mindset intervention (n=1,646) or to a control group (n=1,630) which completed online sessions providing basic information about the brain. Compared to the control group, intervention participants demonstrated significantly greater improvement on self-reported measures of growth mindset by the end of the second online session. At the end of the semester, GPA was better for intervention students but only for those with low prior achievement. On a related measure of poor grades, the intervention group did significantly better overall than the control group.

Yeager et al. (2019) and Zhu et al. (2019) examined a nationally representative sample of ninth-grade students who were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n=6,700) or a control group (n=6,720), with both groups completing online sessions of differing content. Yeager et al. (2019) focused on 6,320 low-achieving students, while Zhu et al. (2019) focused on the full sample. For both the low-achieving subsample and the full sample, relative to the control group, intervention students showed significantly fewer fixed mindset beliefs at posttest and higher GPAs in core subjects at the end of the school year.

To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing Growth Mindset for 9th Graders.


Yeager, D. S., Hanselman, P., Walton, G. M., Murray, J. S., Crosnoe, R., Muller, C., . . . Dweck, C. S. (2019). A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement. Nature573, 364-369.

Yeager, D. S., Romero, C., Paunesku, D., Hulleman, C., Schneider, B., Hinojosa, C., . . . Dweck, C. S. (2016). Using design thinking to improve psychological interventions: The case of the growth mindset during the transition to high school. Journal of Educational Psychology108(3), 374-391.

Zhu, P., Garcia, I., Boxer, K., Wadhera, S., & Alonzo, E. (2019).  Using a growth mindset intervention to help ninth-graders: An independent evaluation of the National Study of Learning Mindsets. MDRC.

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ParentCorps enhances pre-K programs in schools and early education centers serving primarily children of color from low-income communities. The program takes a two-generation approach by supporting both parents and children. It helps the important adults in children’s lives – parents and teachers – create safe, nurturing and predictable environments at home and in the classroom and improves relationships and communication between parents and teachers. These changes scaffold children’s acquisition of self-regulation skills, and together, sustained changes in the environment and self-regulatory capacity contribute to improved mental health and achievement in childhood and adolescence. The program consists of 14 weekly sessions, which are held in the school during the evening and co-facilitated by mental health professionals and pre-K teachers or other school staff. Parent and child groups meet separately first but are brought together so that parents can practice new skills.

ParentCorps includes three components:

1. Professional Learning for leaders, teachers, mental health professionals and parent support staff on evidence-based strategies to promote social, emotional and behavioral development and family engagement practices; training and coaching for teachers and mental health professionals to support high-quality program implementation.

2. Parenting Program for families of pre-K students (14 2-hour sessions) to provide opportunities for parents to come together, share ideas, learn about evidence-based practices, and support each other in parenting effectively.

3. Social-Emotional Learning Classroom Curriculum for pre-K students (14 2-hour sessions).

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating ParentCorps.

In the first study, Brotman et al. (2011) tested the program’s impacts in a cluster randomized controlled trial of eight public schools within in one school district in New York City. Equal numbers of schools were randomized to either receive the intervention (n=4; 118 children) or services as usual (n=4; 53 children). Data were collected at baseline and posttest from parents, children, teachers, and in-home observations of parent-child interactions. At posttest, compared to the control group, children who received the intervention had significantly fewer teacher-reported behavioral problems (composite of externalizing, internalizing, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders) and their parents displayed more effective parenting practices.

In the second study, Brotman et al. (2013, 2016) and Dawson-McClure et al. (2015) conducted another cluster randomized controlled trial in two highly disadvantaged school districts in New York City. Five schools (n=561 children) were randomized to the intervention group and five schools (n=489 children) were randomized to an education-as-usual control group. In this study, professional development included pre-K and kindergarten teachers and paraprofessionals; thus, the posttest assessment occurred at the end of kindergarten. Additional measures were collected at the end of the first- and second-grade years. Compared to the control schools, participants in the intervention schools scored significantly higher on a kindergarten achievement test (posttest), teacher-rated academic performance (posttest and two-year follow-up), and behavioral problems as measured by a composite of externalizing and internalizing behaviors (two-year follow-up). Additionally, at posttest, intervention parents had higher self- and teacher-rated effective parenting.

To date, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has not conducted a cost-benefit analysis of implementing ParentCorps.


Brotman, L. M., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kingston, S., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., . . . Petkova, E. (2011). Promoting effective parenting practices and preventing child behavior problems in school among ethnically diverse families from underserved, urban communities. Child Development, 82(1), 258-276

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E. J., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Palamar, J. J., & Petkova, E. (2013). Cluster (school) RCT of ParentCorps: Impact on kindergarten academic achievement. Pediatrics, 131(5), 1521-1529.

Brotman, L. M., Dawson-McClure, S., Kamboukos, D., Huang, K., Calzada, E., Goldfeld, K., & Petkova, E. (2016). Effects of ParentCorps in prekindergarten on child mental health and academic performance: Follow-up of a randomized clinical trial through 8 years of age. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 170(12), 1149-1155.

Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E., Huang, K., Kamboukos, D., Rhule, D., Kolawole, B., . . . Brotman, L. M. (2015). A population-level approach to promoting healthy child development and school success in low-income, urban neighborhoods: Impact on parenting and child conduct problems. Prevention Science, 16(2), 279-290.

Read the Program Fact Sheet

Dr. Pamela Buckley (Blueprints PI) and Dr. Velma McBride Murry (Blueprints Advisory Board member) gave a talk at the Prevention Science Methodology Group Virtual Grand Rounds as part of a series titled “Systemic Racism and Prevention Science: Enhancing Social Justice to Achieve Health Equity”.

The presentation was called Examining the Representation of Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups in Preventive Intervention Research, and it provided information on a study in which the Blueprints team reviewed and evaluated the nature, size, and scope of extant research across an 11-year period involving representation of racial and ethnic minority groups in preventive intervention research, thus serving as a vehicle for decision-making regarding the generalizability of evidence-based interventions. The presentation provided an overview of preliminary findings, presented recommendations for reporting race and ethnicity in prevention interventions studies, and concluded with a discussion aimed at identifying specific areas where additional research would be beneficial and gaps in services where new intervention development is needed.  Download the slides and view the webinar here.

Professor and Blueprints Advisory Board member Frances Gardner gave a talk at the University of Colorado Boulder titled “Parenting Interventions Globally: Are There Differential Effects Across Countries, Cultures and Social Groups?”

In this talk, Dr. Gardner spoke about her work analyzing intervention moderator effects using both individual participant data and aggregate level meta-analysis, including some large systematic reviews she is conducting for the World Health Organization (WHO) Guideline on parenting interventions to reduce maltreatment of children. These studies have implications for understanding the effects of interventions on health and social inequities, and for adaptation strategies. She also spoke about her WHO and UNICEF collaboration, “Parenting for Lifelong Health”, which involves developing, adapting, and testing parenting programs in sustainable systems in low-and middle-income countries, with recent randomized trials in the public health system in Thailand, the conditional cash transfer system in the Philippines, and in three middle-income countries in southeastern Europe. Frances Gardner, DPhil, is a Professor of Child and Family Science in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and Director of the Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation, at Oxford University. View the presentation here.

Dr. Pamela Buckley (Blueprints Principal Investigator) gave a talk to the Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network, which serves to improve implementation and delivery of effective substance abuse prevention interventions.

Prevention registries such as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development play an important role in informing practitioners, funders and policymakers about interventions that are likely to improve the lives of youths and their families. This webinar first presents an overview of Blueprints, followed by a demonstration on navigating the registry’s website and tailoring searches to locate effective interventions that fit local communities’ unique needs and circumstances. It concludes with a discussion on what the field considers best practices in making adaptations to effective interventions to increase cultural appropriateness without modifying core components, or the essential intervention activities deemed necessary to produce desired outcomes. Watch the presentation here.

One-year follow-up findings: Implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic of interventions rated by Blueprints as Model/Model Plus and Promising

In August 2021, Blueprints released results of a one-year follow-up survey (administered between May and June 2021) that was initially conducted in May 2020 with contacts listed for the Blueprints certified programs on how evidence-based interventions had responded to, and begun to plan for, the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. Results show most programs have experienced a small (or no) impact in delivering services as a direct result of COVID. However, a wide range of modifications to service delivery and implementation strategies were reported – findings that remained relatively stable over time. Download the full report here. Continue reading “One-year follow-up findings: Implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic of interventions rated by Blueprints as Model/Model Plus and Promising”


Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309


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Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.