Matthew Gallagher

Physical Education

Our Lady's High Motherwell

  • Growth Mindset

What happens when I provide formative feedback through the use of growth mindset?


It is clear, through experience and professional discussions, that throughout the Education system in Scotland that many, if not the majority of, pupils have a fixed mind-set. What comes with this, is a severe lack of motivation, engagement and effort. This is due to holding the belief that intelligence is set and changed, along with the view that mistakes are failings or major setbacks and not an opportunity to learn and grow.

The idea of having a more positive outlook is not a new one and indeed was endorsed by The General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012) where the importance of positivity in classrooms was acknowledged and encouraged. The concept of Growth Mind-set takes on board this idea of a positive outlook and combats the fixed mind-set belief. Carol Dweck (1999) stated that when students believe that intelligence can grow there is an increase in effort as a result. The effort levels will increase at this stage because of pupils’ confidence levels in their ability to learn increasing. It is important to identify that it is the work rate and effort which are behind the increase in intellectual ability and therefore praising the learning process rather than the outcome can develop a Growth Mind-set (Dweck, 2007).

Curriculum for Excellence brought Formative Assessment to the forefront of educational context with the inception of Assessment is for Leaning. This brought in a more holistic view of education, therefore not only the outcome being focussed on but rather the whole process leading to it too. Growth Mind-set is too large a topic to observe in this piece of research therefore, as a group, we have decided to narrow it down to the use of Formative Feedback in a Growth Mind-set context and its effect on Pupils.

Formative work fits in with a Growth Mind-set system well due to the concepts sharing principles. For instance, they both exist to see intelligence or ability improved through hard work in the correct areas. Both also expect this process to take time and a lot of effort in order to be successful and finally, both concepts anticipate there will be mistakes made and challenges faced along the way but view these as learning opportunities and part of the process.


The aim of this enquiry was to discover the impact of Formative Feedback in a Growth Mind-set context on pupils’ attitudes and motivation.

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