Article ID: 2017
We examined the impact of instructors’ beliefs about ability on their advice to underachieving learners. Two scenario experiments wherein participants were asked to advise an underachieving student as a teacher were conducted with different samples. When the student made sufficient effort, participants endorsing stronger entity beliefs (“Ability is fixed”) tended to attribute failure to a lack of ability and therefore encourage the student to change subjects. However, they tended to advise students to continue working on the same subject when the effort was insufficient. The results indicate that those endorsing stronger entity beliefs assess learners’ aptitude by observing their effort. Meanwhile, participants endorsing stronger incremental beliefs (“Ability is malleable”) were less likely to encourage students to change subjects regardless of the amount of effort, suggesting that they perceive it as a source of self-improvement. However, they showed a similar inferential process about learners’ ability as participants endorsing stronger entity beliefs, suggesting that they may also consider the informational aspect of the effort, although the indirect effect was weaker.