Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Virginia Salzer, PhD

Second Advisor

George McCloskey, PhD

Third Advisor

Meredith Panik, PhD


The classroom is a dynamic social setting where teachers respond affectively to student failure. Divergent affective reactions toward learning and achievement occur in teachers with fixed and malleable views of intelligence, which impact students’ self-esteem and expectations for future success. The present study explored teacher and student variables related to emotive classroom expression toward test failures of boys. View of intelligence as fixed or malleable, attribution of controllability (effort & ability) and student condition were measured and examined in relation to the affects frustration, sympathy, positive or negative feedback and expectations for future failure. Attributions of controllability (effort & ability) were manipulated through the use of failure vignettes. The vignettes varied systematically on degree of effort and ability displayed by disabled and non-disabled students. Two hundred and ten K-12 school teachers completed questionnaires measuring type of IQ beliefs, affects and demographic variables. The data obtained from utilization of a quasi-experimental design were analyzed by t-tests and analysis of variance for independent groups. The results of the study were discussed within the context of educational and cognitive psychological theories and implications for research and practice are provided. The findings show that fixed and malleable theorists differ in their emotional responses of frustration and expectation for future failure in the ability, effort, and student status conditions. There was no differential response between groups on expressions of sympathy or praise in any conditions. A significant inference of this research is that practicing teachers, as well as teachers in training should be taught to develop a malleable cognitive mindset to deal with challenges, obstacles and difficulties, which may transpire in inclusive classrooms.

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Psychology Commons