Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status
Results overdue

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
The Changing Pupils’ Mindsets project is testing the theories that children hold about their intelligence, in particular whether it is a ‘fixed entity’ or a ‘malleable’ quality that can be developed. Research with 12-14 year olds in the US has found that those who agreed with the idea that “You can always change how intelligent you are” outperformed those who believed that “You have a certain amount of intelligence and you can’t do much to change it”. Other US research found that mentoring pupils with a Changing Mindsets approach led to improvements in standardised tests. This study is testing a model of changing the way pupils think about themselves and their intelligence. Specifically, the intervention aims to support schools in encouraging “growth mindsets” in their pupils (the belief that intelligence can be developed, rather than being a fixed trait).

Who can participate?
Teachers and Year 6 pupils at primary schools in the South East, South West, Midlands, North East and North West (UK)

What does the study involve?
Participating schools are randomly allocated to either receive the intervention straight away or to carry on with business as usual and receive the intervention two academic terms later. Teachers receive training that introduces them to mindset theory and evidence and provides them with tips for how to embed the approach in their classrooms/schools (e.g. how to communicate incremental beliefs to pupils through feedback/praise). To supplement these suggested changes to everyday practice, teachers are given the materials/training to run an 8-week programme (up 2.5 hours a week) of weekly lessons and activities.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The possible benefits of participation are an increase in growth mindset, increased pupil resilience to challenge and failure in learning, increased pupil attainment (literacy and numeracy), improved pupil self-regulation and self-efficacy. The risks of participating are loss of time spent on other curriculum areas having a negative impact on attainment in those areas. This risk is mitigated by teachers selecting the time of delivery that limits this risk, e.g. delivery coming outside of core curriculum delivery times.

Where is the study run from?
National Institute of Economic and Social Research and University of Portsmouth (UK)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
February 2016 to January 2018

Who is funding the study?
Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Cinzia Rienzo

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Cinzia Rienzo


Contact details

2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
Sw1P 3HE
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Changing mindsets to improve pupil attainment: a randomised trial in schools


Study hypothesis

Testing whether teacher-led sessions can encourage pupils to adopt a “growth mindset”

Ethics approval

University of Portsmouth, Science Faculty Ethics Committee (SFEC), 04/02/2016, Ref: SFEC 2016-007

Study design

Interventional school-level cluster randomised controlled trial; the participants are not blinded, but the outcome measurement is

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Cluster randomised trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet


Academic performance end of Year 6


Treatment: Teachers will receive training that introduces them to mindset theory and evidence and provides them with tips for how to embed the approach in their classrooms/schools. Schools will pay £500 to receive the intervention.
Control: Business as usual and payment of £500 to receive the intervention two academic terms later.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Literacy and numeracy as measured by the national Key Stage 2 tests at the end of the first year

Secondary outcome measures

Non-cognitive skills, measured through the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich & Van De Groot, 1990), self-efficacy and self-regulation subscales

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

The study comprises primary schools in the South East, South West, Midlands, North East and North West. Within each school, the trial focuses on year 6 pupils.
Recruitment is on a school basis. Inclusion criteria is any school that is:
1. English state primary schools that are able to send their Year 5 and Year 6 teachers to one of up to 20 INSETs in 7 regions across the UK
2. Schools that have not carried out any formal Mindset intervention at the stage of recruitment
3. Schools that have not used a systematic mindsets programme with their Year 6 cohort
4. Schools should also be able to attend one of the training dates provided by Portsmouth

If there is a high degree of interest from schools then schools with a high number of FSM pupils, or schools were there was a significant gap between FSM and non-FSM pupils will be prioritized.

As a condition of being entered into the randomisation schools will need to provide the following:
1. Confirmation that parent opt-out consent forms have been sent out
2. Pupil data form including UPNs for all year 6s
3. Baseline teacher questionnaire

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

100 schools, with an estimated 40 students per school

Participant exclusion criteria

1. Independent schools
2. School that have used a systematic mindsets programme with their Year 6 cohort

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

National Institute of Economic and Social Research
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

University of Portsmouth
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Sponsor details

9th Floor
Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Education Endowment Foundation (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

We will publish an Evaluation Report in Spring 2018 (by end of May 2018), which will include the impact estimates for the primary and secondary outcomes. This will be published on the study page of the Education Endowment Foundation website.

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

Not expected to be available

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes