Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Amy Barrios

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Bruce Scott

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Darin Martin


The achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their advantaged peers is a problem that has been a concern since the Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court case in 1954. The problem continues to exist, and little progress has been made in closing the gap. Research shows a teacher’s mindset can significantly impact the achievement gap. This mixed-methods case study aims to examine teacher mindsets in at-risk, suburban elementary campuses to determine its impact on instruction. A purposeful selection sample of nine teachers from various levels, experience, and specialties in grades PK-5 took part in the study. The quantitative results collected from the growth mindset quizzes and correlation coefficient revealed (a) five teachers possessed a strong growth mindset; (b) four teachers possessed a growth mindset with some fixed ideas; (c) there was no correlation between a teachers’ years of service and their mindset score. The following themes emerged from the qualitative data through semistructured interviews and focus group discussions: (a) teachers’ mindsets aid in differentiation to meet students at varying levels, (b) a growth mindset provides flexibility in thinking and an openness to learning and making changes, (c) reflection is a regular practice of growth minded educators, (d) all participants desired to possess a growth mindset, and (e) educators battle the two mindsets (growth and fixed). Implications for schools wanting to focus on teacher mindsets and recommendations for future research are provided. Keywords: growth mindset; teacher mindset; instructional practices; incremental theory; achievement gap

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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