Gritty or Flexible: Which Is a Better Predictor of Academic Success?
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In any classroom, there are clear differences in the ways students learn and respond to challenges. Growth mindset, the belief that intelligence is malleable and can be improved through hard work (Dweck, 2008), has been shown to influence response to challenging problems. Another quality associated with the response to challenges is grit. Grit is defined as the tendency to sustain perseverance and passion for challenging long-term goals (Duckworth & Gross, 2014). Consequently both growth mindset and grit are implicated in problem solving. However, it is unclear whether either one is associated with executive functioning. 61 college-aged students completed the Growth Mindset Questionnaire (Dweck, 2008), a short Grit Scale (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007), two Sudoku puzzles (one easy, one hard, with the order counterbalanced), and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST, to assess executive functioning). We found that grit was associated with more correct responses and fewer errors on the WCST. When participants completed the easy Sudoku puzzle before the hard Sudoku puzzle, growth mindset was associated with performance on the hard puzzle. When participants completed the hard Sudoku puzzle before the easy Sudoku puzzle, grit was associated with performance on the hard puzzle.
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