Growth mindset indicators

by Barbara Hanfstingl, Samuel Hafner & Gertraud Benke


The following indicators are a result of studying theories and  that are strongly associated with growth versus fixed mindset in the literature. If a teaching activity fulfils many of these indicators, it should be considered a best practice example. However, mind that rarely will it be possible to address all in one situation – which should also not be the purpose of these indicators. 

Indicator 1: The primary focus of the activity is on developing student’s skills and competencies, as opposed to just letting them demonstrate their skills and competencies.

Indicator 2: The activity provides information about effective learning strategies, and on how to effectively regulate and evaluate learning.

Indicator 3: The activity provides scientific information about neuroplasticity (i.e. the inherent capacity of the brain to form new neural connections throughout life).

Indicator 4: The activity fosters the belief that success is controllable by the student and dependent on their efforts.

Indicator 5: The activity offers different choices to students and thus supports students’ need for autonomy, i.e. they can feel free and self-determined.

Indicator 6: The activity provides structure and feedback that makes students aware that they have learned something and helps them experience their newly acquired competence.

Indicator 7: The activity supports students’ need for feeling significant to others and connecting to others.

Indicator 8: The activity aims at fostering students’ process-focused thinking.