Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Courtenay A. Barrett

Abstract

An achievement gap between ethnic minorities and whites continues to exist within the US, as well as between the US and varying countries (Peterson, Woessmann, Hanushek, & Lastra-Anadon, 2011). Research has identified several factors that contribute to this gap, such as differences in curricula across countries, teacher quality, and school funding. In addition to these factors, teachers’ implicit theories of intelligence may also contribute to the achievement gap. Whether teachers view intelligence as fixed (entity theory) or malleable (incremental theory) can impact instructional practices, specifically the use of performance and learning goals. Performance goals focus on evaluation, ability, and performance rather than mastery of material, growth, and overall learning as seen in learning goals are (Dweck, 1999; Shim, Cho, & Cassady, 2013). Research is limited regarding the development of implicit theories of intelligence; however, there is evidence culture may be involved. Identifying specific cultural practices that influence the development of implicit theories of intelligence may provide a unique perspective on pedagogy and how teachers interact with students. This review of the literature discusses one cultural practice that may be related to the development of implicit theories of intelligence, mainly standardized achievement testing. First, this literature review defines the construct of implicit theories of intelligence; then, reviews the literature on performance and learning goals as mediating factors of implicit theories of intelligence, and, finally, explores the relation between these and standardized achievement testing. Areas for future research and implications are also discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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