Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE
’20), June 15–19, 2020, Trondheim, Norway. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages.


This paper describes a pilot intervention conducted in CS1, in the
academic year of 2016-2017. The intervention was based on the
work of Dweck, promoting a growth Mindset in an effort to in-
crease performance in introductory programming. The study also
examined data from a previous year (as a control group) to compare
and contrast the results. Multiple factors related to programming
performance were recorded with the control and treatment group,
which were measured at multiple intervals throughout the course,
to monitor changes as the pilot intervention was implemented.
This study found a significant increase in programming perfor-
mance when the intervention was deployed. However, although
performance increased for the treatment group, the average Mindset
did not significantly change towards a growth Mindset (replicating
the findings of Cutts et al, 2010). To further explore this finding,
a preliminary deeper investigation using k-means clustering was
carried out. The investigation found that the intervention promoted
a growth Mindset for some student profiles and a fixed Mindset for
others. This finding is important for educators considering interven-
tion development or implementation of Mindset, and demonstrates
that a Mindset intervention may not be suitable for all learners.