Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Rhea Walker

Dissertation Committee Members

Mary Anderson, Nicholas Gilbertson




Math achievement is frequently measured by various assessments. These assessments are then used to determine student and school success, often leading to high stakes decision making. Therefore, it is important to understand ways in which educators can improve student math achievement. Students with a growth mindset, as defined by Dweck (2006), exhibit higher math achievement than students with fixed mindsets. Additionally, teaching practices predict and influence the development of student mindsets. Therefore, one way to improve student math achievement may be through understanding the impact, as well as proper and consistent implementation of growth mindset instructional practices. This qualitative phenomenological study investigates teacher perception of the impact of growth mindset on math instruction, as well as any possible connections between perception and observable practice across five core elementary education teachers in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. Through document analysis of survey results, semi-structured interviews, and observations, research findings aligned to Sun’s (2018) Math Teaching for Mindset Framework (MTMF) suggest that educators believe growth mindset has a positive impact on their math instruction. While educators have a strong understanding of fixed and growth mindset, they report having little to no formal training. Although background understanding is evident, understanding of mindset informed practices seems to be incomplete. Additionally, a connection between perceived practices and observable practices lacks consistency. These themes suggest the need for further professional development specific to mindset informed instructional practices in the elementary math content area.



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