Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2020

Thesis Director

Amy Davis

Thesis Committee Member

John H. Bickford III

Thesis Committee Member

Heidi A. Larson


If students believe the possibilities for attaining knowledge are boundless, they will be capable of reaching those heights. However, if students feel as though they are restricted by what nature and genetics have gifted them, their learning will remain within those boundaries. This is what stands as the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, which affects will be analyzed pertaining to student progress and motivation in literacy. A third-grade class was observed over six weeks to explore what the teacher believes about her students’ reading abilities as well as what the students believe about their reading abilities. These beliefs were compared to actual reading ability levels of the students to measure the accuracy of perceptions held by the students and the teacher. Three students of ranging reading ability levels, along with the teacher, were the main focused population in this study. Findings revealed three main themes present across all participants involving valid perceptions. Self-talk encouraged the participants to continuously have positive thoughts about learning and not limit their potential capabilities. Setting goals prepared participates to conquer challenges and persevere through failures. Progress was witnessed in the three targeted students’ reading abilities after modeling the teacher’s growth mindset ideology.