Parents tell their children all the time 'you can do anything you set your mind to' but a new study shows that's not only true, but can make all the difference in a child's academic success.
Barbara Reyelts has the story for Connect with kids.
A lot of kids are afraid of math -
"I panic when people just mention the word."
It seems that kids have two different ideas about intelligence. One is that I-Q is fixed at birth:
"And that idea is that intelligence is a thing and you have a certain amount of it. And the other theory, which suggests that intelligence is something that you gain or that you gather over time."
Researchers at Stanford University studied 91 seventh graders who were poor math students.
Half the kids were taught that intelligence can be developed....With work, you can get smarter.
"And just from that little intervention, um, they found an increase in students' motivation and in their math courses they found about a half a letter grade higher."
He says their grades went up because they learned that it's not so much intelligence that determines your grades... It's how hard you work.
"When they fail, they think they need to put more effort into it. Their reasoning is that that they need to try more and then they'll be able to do it.
And the other kids who thought they weren't very smart and there was nothing they could do about it?
Their grades stayed the same.
"Students who believe that intelligence is a thing, um, usually give up because they just believe that they're not smart enough to do it."
He says the lesson that parents can teach their kids: intelligence can be developed It can grow If the child is willing to work... And not give up .
"Because when you don't succeed then you can see what you did wrong and then you can always go back and try it again and you might get it that time."
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