Learning Mindset Supports and Practices in Effective Postsecondary Advising


Students’ perceptions of whether they belong in college and have the potential to succeed can affect their achievement in high school classes, decisions to apply to colleges and persistence in higher education – all factors that influence their opportunity for upward mobility. Over the last three decades, the income gap between the median college-educated male and the median high-school-educated male has doubled, with college graduates earning over 95% more in weekly wages than individuals with only a high school diploma.

College access programs play a critical role in fostering the learning mindsets students need to pursue and be successful in college. While college access leaders have begun focusing on how to foster adaptive learning mindsets among students, they have yet to directly connect strategies to research evidence on learning mindsets and document strategies in a way they can be readily shared among programs.

This project, developed by CASTL’s Motivate Lab, aims to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based learning mindset practices among college access programs by:

  • Codifying practices already underway among innovative programs
  • Building capacity to integrate new practices into the postsecondary advising space
  • Laying the infrastructure for infusing practices into college access programs more broadly

Drawing from design-based thinking, improvement science and learning mindset research, Motivate Lab researchers will work with college access practitioners to understand how students’ learning mindsets relate to challenges in applying and transitioning to college and identify appropriate, evidence-based strategies to promote adaptive learning environments within the context of college access programs across the country.

Project Status: May 2019 - November 2021

Funding Source: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Principal Investigator: Chris Hulleman (PI), Yoi Tibbits (Co-PI)