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Math Mindset includes learners' self-concept and self-efficacy beliefs as well as their mindset toward failure that shape their willingness to get involved with mathematics. The beliefs that students have about themselves as a math person and their ability to do math often have a cyclical relationship with achievement (e.g., previous academic achievement fosters particular beliefs which in turn predict future achievement). Student attitudes and beliefs can be shaped by their Math Learning Environment and experiences with mathematics.
Math Mindset includes students' beliefs about their own ability and about the meaning of struggle and effort with regard to mathematics.
Children with better Math Mindsets are more likely to persist, for example, re-working challenging problems and discarding incorrect strategies. These positive attitudes toward figuring math out are beneficial for learning and making connections across concepts. However, beliefs about the self and math are not always based in truth: girls' performance in math is similar to boys, yet they often express lower confidence and more negative attitudes around math compared to boys. This "confidence gap" emerges during middle school. Because students are actively interpreting educational events in their lives (e.g., a challenging math activity, a low grade in math class, a comment by a parent), it is important for teachers and parents to help students understand what leads people to become efficacious in mathematics.