Growth mindset, delayed gratification, and learning outcome: evidence from a field survey of least-advantaged private schools in Depok-Indonesia

Fandy Rahardi, Teguh Dartanto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indonesian students perform poorly compared with students in other countries, despite education taking a significant portion of the national budget. Although poor infrastructure is often blamed for this failure, several reports show that it may not be the sole determinant of learning outcomes. Using the concepts of a growth mindset and delayed gratification as proxies for human behavior, we conducted a field survey of four highly disadvantaged private schools in Depok, West Java, Indonesia to observe how human behaviors affect learning outcomes. We use a self-administered mathematics test to measure learning outcomes, and construct a questionnaire based on Dweck's Implicit Theory of Intelligence to measure students’ growth mindset. Delayed gratification is measured using a Convex Time Budget (CTB) questionnaire. Controlling for various student characteristics, our estimations show that a more pronounced growth mindset is associated with better math scores. Meanwhile, delayed gratification has mixed effects on learning outcomes: it has no significant effect when the relationship is estimated using an Interval Censored Regression (ICR), but has some statistical significance when an Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression is used. These results imply that a student's beliefs on a growing intelligence can affect their academic achievement, whereas the ability to resist temptation has inconclusive effects on academic achievement. This difference may be caused by several factors such as the developmental stage of students. Interestingly, satisfactory teaching practices do not necessarily lead to better math scores. Our findings, therefore, suggest that future education policy design must consider aspects of human behavior in order to more optimally benefit students.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06681
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Delayed gratification
  • Education policy
  • Growth mindset
  • Indonesia
  • Learning outcome


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