Instruments to Measure Elementary Student Mindsets about Smartness and Failure in General and with respect to Engineering

The aim of this study was to assess evidence for the validity of General Mindset (GM) and Engineering Mindset (EM) surveys that we developed for fifth-grade students (ages 10-11). In both surveys, we used six items to measure student mindset to determine if it was more fixed (presuming intelligence is fixed and failure is a sign that one is not smart enough) or more growth-minded (presuming one can become smarter and that failures are signals to improve) (Dweck, 1986). We administered surveys to 2473 fifth-grade students (ages 10-11) who learned one or two engineering units during one academic year. Using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) then Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), we identified a single factor for each survey. We assert that there is strong evidence for the validity of using the GM or EM survey with students ages 10-11. The EM survey should be given after students have engaged in engineering classwork in school.

Lottero-Perdue, P.S. & Lachapelle, C. P. (2019). Instruments to measure elementary student mindsets about smartness and failure in general and with respect to engineering. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 7(2), 197-214.