Project in schools in low income communities. Due to its success, the program will be implemented in all schools in the province.
In 2017, the Western Cape Government piloted a Growth Mindset programme with primary and high school students across 20 schools in low-income communities. Following the pilot’s success, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will be formally implementing the programme with a step-by-step approach in all 1500 schools across the province over the next 7 years.
Growth Mindset (GM) is the concept that intelligence is not predetermined but rather malleable; that the brain can be trained to grow and improve over time like a muscle. By cultivating a growth mindset, students adopt a more positive attitude towards learning and develop greater effort, perseverance, and self-motivation, which ultimately leads to better academic outcomes.
The pilot consisted of a GM curriculum and subsequent reinforcement sessions. Students watched five three-minute videos over the course of one week, following two friendly monsters through their journey of learning, failing, learning how to cope with failure, and trying again to succeed. After each video, the students participated in Q&A sessions; in the subsequent months, the students also analysed the videos to reinforce their learning.
The results were incredibly promising; compared to the control group (which received National Geographic videos), GM-trained high-school students achieved an improvement of 4.36 points (out of 100) on their final maths score in the same year as the pilot, which was further sustained and improved to a 6.76 point increase in the subsequent year. This is equivalent to an 11% and a 17% increase in grades, respectively. More impressively, however, was the cost-efficiency of the programme. By leveraging existing technology infrastructure in schools, using digital videos, and training existing WCED teachers and staff, the entire GM programme would cost less than 2 USD per student.