How do students’ mindsets in learning reflect their cultural values and predict academic achievement?

Junfeng Zhang, Elina Kuusisto, Kirsi Tirri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Inspired by previous research indicating implicit beliefs about the malleability of human qualities, namely mindset, to affect learning outcomes, this article compares how Chinese and Finnish students’ mindsets and attributions for success reflect their cultural values and predict their academic achievement. The study was conducted in one Chinese (N=705) and two Finnish (N=495) middle schools utilizing Dweck’s mindset inventory, Weiner’s attribution scale and students’ school marks. The results illustrated that both Chinese and Finnish students held a growth mindset, and all identified the nature of intelligence as being more malleable than giftedness. However, Chinese students did not differentiate between intelligence and giftedness as clearly as Finnish students. Both students attributed the cause of their academic achievements to effort and ability, but placed more emphasis on effort. Furthermore, Chinese students’ preference for effort significantly accounted for higher language marks, whereas Finnish students with fixed mindsets about giftedness achieved higher mathematics marks. Cultural interpretation, implications and limitations of the results were discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)111-126
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • mindset
  • giftedness
  • academic achievement

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