Ability beliefs refer to students’ perceptions of their ability as a fixed trait that is beyond their control, or as something that can change and grow. When ability is viewed as fixed, effort may be seen as futile, and failure as due to a lack of ability. On the other hand, when ability is perceived as changeable, effort is simply a means to increasing ability, and failure may be considered a learning opportunity – something that is especially important in scientific inquiry. Chapter 8 addresses these different ways to think about ability, and offers suggestions for how science teachers can impact students’ ability beliefs in a way that boosts motivation and achievement.

Resources to support teachers in developing a growth mindset and minimizing stereotype threat can be found by clicking on the links shown at right. Those resources include handouts and activities, further reading, links to recommended websites, and short (~ 3 minute) video clips illustrating the importance of this concept to practicing scientists and showing exemplary high school teachers who practice the strategies recommended in the book.