Academic Mindsets and Behaviors, Prior Achievement, and the Transition to Middle School
Middle school is an important crossroad in a student’s academic journey. As students enter middle school, their academic achievement and engagement frequently declines. This is true particularly for Black and Latinx students. Previous research has found that academic outcomes around the transition to middle school are related to, and might even be driven by, academic mindsets, including growth mindsets (such as beliefs about the malleability of academic ability and the payoff to effort) and performance avoidance (fears of failure and the desire to avoid academic effort), and resulting academic behaviors (such as completing homework).
This REL West study examined the relationship between 2016/17 grade 5 student responses to a Clark County School District (Nevada) survey on levels of academic mindsets and behaviors and the predicted probability of earning a low GPA (below 2.0) at the end of the first semester of grade 6 (the first year of middle school) in 2017/18.
The findings of this study suggest that education stakeholders might consider incorporating supports for positive academic mindsets and behaviors to more effectively prepare students for the transition to middle school and supporting them through the transition.
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