Implicit Theory of Intelligence and Gifted Students

Park, Sunhee, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Callahan, Carolyn, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

This dissertation is comprised of three independently conducted studies, linked by the theme of investigation into gifted students’ implicit theories of intelligence deemed necessary for academic growth in challenging and difficult academic situations. The findings of these studies add to the literature base relating to the measurement of the implicit theory of intelligence of gifted students and to the relationships among the implicit theory of intelligence, academic achievement and further career interest of gifted students. In Study 1, researchers found that the 6-item implicit theories of intelligence scale that Dweck (2000) suggested can be used to assess gifted student populations. Also, Dweck’s model of implicit theories of intelligence (Dweck & Leggett, 1988) was specified more clearly with gifted students by demonstrating that there was a positive relationship between an incremental theory of intelligence and learning goals and a negative relationship between an incremental theory of intelligence and performance-avoidance goals, while there was no significant relationship between performance-approach goals and implicit theories of intelligence. In Study 2, researchers strongly corroborated validity evidence of scores from the 6-item implicit theories of intelligence scale by examining measurement invariance of Dweck’s 6-item scale between general education students and gifted students. Study 3 was designed to extend the literature on implicit theories of intelligence by investigating whether an incremental theory of intelligence is associated with not only gifted students’ academic performance, but also with gifted students’ talent-related career interests mediated by other motivational constructs such as learning goals and intrinsic motivation. This study confirmed that the origin of adaptive achievement behaviors such as accepting challenges is from an incremental view of ability and revealed that intrinsic motivation, which is considered to be a critical factor in gaining high academic achievement and maintaining interest in STEM careers, is also based on an incremental belief of intelligence.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Mindset measurement, Mindsets, Achievement goals, Intrinsic motivation, Academically gifted students with talents in science and/or mathematics, STEM career interest
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