Mindset × Context: Schools, Classrooms, and the Unequal Translation of Expectations into Math Achievement

Volume 88, Issue 2, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

By Jamie M. Carroll, David S. Yeager, Jenny Buontempo, Cameron Hecht, Andrei Cimpian, Pratik Mhatre, Chandra Muller, and Robert Crosnoe

Included in this issue:


This monograph used the Mindset × Context perspective to examine how students’ expectations for success in math (mindset) and school- and classroom-based opportunities (context) interact to explain inequalities in the critical first year of high school. Data come from the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM), a nationally representative study of ~10,000 U.S. public-school ninth graders in 2015-2016. Expectations powerfully predicted math progress, more so for boys from more socioeconomically disadvantaged families, who showed the lowest math progress rate overall. Schools’ peer norms and students’ perceptions of classroom gendered math stereotyping interacted with expectations and group identities (gender and SES) as well. Thus, integrating psychological and sociological perspectives provided complementary insights into young people’s trajectories through an unequal educational environment, while highlighting possible policy levers.

About the Authors


Growing Growth-Mindset by Barbara Schneider and Lydia Bradford


How can one conduct a nationally representative study?

How can course-taking serve as a window into math, STEM, broadening participation?

What is the origin story of “mindset x context” within ecological contexts?

The Findings That Boys From Low SES Families Were the Most Vulnerable Group

The Tricks for Studying Classroom Stereotyping

The Bayesian Causal Forests (BCF) Method

Teaching and Research Resources