The effects of using literacy-based learning strategies with a growth mindset intervention on students' performance on state standardized biology concepts
Forsythe, Kimberly Sue
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My goal as a teacher is to inspire students to become life-long learners and it starts with providing them with the tools and mindset in which they can use for life's challenges. Learning and test success can both be achieved when students are provided effective learning strategies and growth mindset in which they are more cognizant of how their brains and actions can lead to learning and success. A mindset is a belief system built on one's perceptions of ability and intellect. Students rarely have a chance to explore or change their personal beliefs about intellect and learning in a high-stake testing environment. The Pennsylvania State Keystone Biology Exam is a state mandated test that students are required to take at the closure of the Biology I course I taught to tenth grade students. This study investigated the use of a literacy strategy called, close reading (where students interact with the text) and a growth mindset intervention on student performance on biology concepts. It also investigated their attitudes and motivations during the intervention. Students' performance scores were greater with the intervention and their motivations were centered on effective learning strategies. Growth mindset and the literacy strategy, close reading, increased achievement and validated the choices of the students. Students were empowered to apply effort and work for self-improvement in the instructional setting. I followed the lead of the students and realized that it was gratifying to fill the role of facilitator instead of instructor. Growth mindset intervention and the close reading literacy strategy provided transferable skills and a belief system that students can use toward contributing to a society set in the information age.