Understanding interrelated growth mind-set and academic participation & performance

Ziang Xiao, Shiliang Zuo, Jinhao Zhao, Wai Tat Fu, Molly H. Goldstein, Michael L. Philpott, Julia Laystrom-Woodard, Marcia Pool, Angela Wolters, Brian S. Woodard

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Spatial Visualization skills is a key predictor of students' academic performance in STEM classes, retention rate in STEM majors, and future career choice. Previous research focusing on students' spatial visualizations skills has impacted educational practice, including the formation of targeted training to help students overcome difficulties in overall visualization skills. Research in developmental psychology shows individuals with the growth mindset are often more actively engaged in the training process and as such gain higher improvement in skills of study. However, students' mindsets in spatial visualization skills were rarely studied. To understand and describe the relationship between mindset and (1) willingness to participate in a skill-development workshop and (2) visualization skills growth, in this paper, we studied 490 students from three first-year engineering courses that heavily emphasized their spatial visualization skills. We assessed all students' spatial visualization skills via the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations pre and post the course and collected their final course grades. We also collected survey regarding mindsets toward spatial visualization skills for all students (n = 289) who participated in the online workshop. Our results indicate 1) students who actively engaged in the training process reported having a high growth mindset, 2) having a growth mindset will bring better learning outcomes, and 3) mindset about spatial visualization skills is malleable. We believe our findings provide strong evidence for integrating growth mindset interventions in spatial visualization training programs that may benefit students academic performance in engineering education and future career.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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