New directions in social psychological interventions to improve academic achievement


Attempts to improve student achievement typically focus on changing the educational environment (e.g., better schools, better teachers) or on personal characteristics of students (e.g., intelligence, self-control). The 6 articles in this special issue showcase an additional approach, emanating from social psychology, which focuses on students’ beliefs and understandings of themselves and their environments. Previous studies have shown that small interventions designed to change student beliefs (e.g., attributions, mindsets, self-stories) can result in long-term academic improvement, and the 6 articles in this special issue build on and extend the social psychological approach in significant ways, demonstrating at scales both small and large, how these beliefs come to be, how to change them, and how they actually work to create academic improvement. We discuss the both the promise and limits of this approach.

Journal of Educational Psychology