PERTS stands for the Project for Education Research That Scales. It is an applied research center at Stanford University. Our team partners with schools, colleges, and other organizations to improve student motivation and achievement on a large scale. In the process, we conduct research that enables us to improve our programs and to expand what is known about academic motivation.

How do PERTS programs work?

To be successful, students must be motivated and resilient: They must choose to learn and to persist even when schoolwork is challenging.

Research shows that students are more likely to be motivated and resilient if they have adaptive learning mindsets. Students with adaptive learning mindsets think about school and about their own abilities in fundamentally different ways from disengaged students: They understand why school is important; they trust their teachers and peers; and they understand that they can grow their abilities by working hard and by trying new strategies when they get stuck. Students who don't understand these things don't try as hard and give up quickly.

PERTS programs help students develop more adaptive learning mindsets so they can stay motivated and resilient. In doing so, they can improve academic outcomes.

Contact Us

Ongoing PERTS Projects

Resources for Teachers

To advance our goal of bridging mindset science and education practices, PERTS is partnering with k-12 educators to undertake a user-driven design process that will result in open, online resources for educators. To learn more about available resources, visit our Resources page.

Online Programs for Students

These are brief, evidence-based, online programs designed to help high school and college students learn to think about school in more adaptive ways. We work with schools to make these programs available to their students in their school computer lab or as homework.

Reducing the Achievement Gap in College

The College Transition Collaborative is investigating how to use adaptive mindset interventions to reduce group-based achievement gaps in college. It is a partnership between researchers and administrators from multiple universities.

Increasing Motivation in Online Learning Environments

The Mindset Challenge is bringing together online learning platforms and behavioral scientists to motivate students learning online.

Results & Impact

PERTS draws on decades of scientific research to develop activities that can help students discover new ways to think about school and about their own abilities. In the process, students can become more passionate, more resilient learners.

Published Findings

Mindset Interventions Are a Scalable Treatment for Academic Underperformance  

Presents results from a randomized controlled trial in which a brief growth mindset intervention and a brief purpose for learning intervention raised academic achievement among students at-risk for dropping out of high school.

Paunesku, D., Walton, G.M., Romero, C.L., Smith, E.N., Yeager, D.S., & Dweck, C.S. (2015). Mindset Interventions are a Scalable Treatment for Academic Underachievement. Psychological Science.

Boring but Important: A self-transcendent purpose for learning fosters academic self-regulation  

A number of studies demonstrate that students are more motivated when they poses a "purpose for learning" — when they understand how learning today will help them accomplish meaningful goals in the future.

Yeager, D.S., Henderson, H., Paunesku, D., Walton, G.M., D’Mello, S. Spitzer, B.J., & Duckworth, A.L. (2014). Boring but Important: A self-transcendent purpose for learning fosters academic self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(4), 559-580.

User Experiences

The impact was so overwhelmingly positive that I have to admit that it brought tears to my eyes. I was just so thrilled for my community.
[When PERTS unveiled our college's results at a state-wide summit of faculty and administrators], all the arrows went in the right direction, and there were gasps of joy when they saw this.
They ask us questions to help us succeed in school. That was my favorite part about the program.


Our interdisciplinary team includes behavioral scientists, software developers, analysts, and logistics coordinators.


Carissa Romero

Carissa Romero

Director of Programs
Stanford University

Affiliated Faculty

Staff & Research Collaborators

Jacquie Beaubien

Jacquie Beaubien

Senior Program Manager
Chris Macrander

Chris Macrander

Software Engineer
Sarah Gripshover

Sarah Gripshover

Data Scientist / Program Manager
Rachel Herter

Rachel Herter

Program Associate
Ben Haley

Ben Haley

Software Engineer
Jason Okonofua

Jason Okonofua

MS5 Program Lead
Abby Howard

Abby Howard

Research Coordinator
Matt Kandler

Matt Kandler

Designer / Product Developer
Daniel Greene

Daniel Greene

Program Associate
Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Technical Associate

Our Partners

We work with schools, colleges, and other organizations around the country to improve student outcomes.

Khan Academy
Committee for Children
Equal Opportunity Schools
The Teaching Channel
New Teacher Center
Santa Monica College
UChicago CCSR
Ivy Tech
College Transition Collaborative
Raise the Bar

Below is a map of some of our partner schools and colleges across the nation

Contact Us

Press Inquiries

For press inquiries or to request a speaking engagement, please email us at

Upcoming & Recent Speaking Engagements

Romero, C. (2015, May 6). Title TBD. New Schools Venture Fund Summit, San Francisco, CA.

Herter, R. (2015, May 1). Title TBD. CPM Educational Program, Sacramento, CA.

Romero, C. (2015, April 22). Title TBD. Education Writers Association, Chicago, IL.

Paunesku, D. (2015, April 14) Unfix Your Mind. The Ed Sessions, Boise, ID.

Gripshover, S. (2015, April). Raising Ivy Tech Students’ Achievement through Online Academic Mindset Interventions. Presentation given at the 6th Annual Program Chair Summit of Ivy Tech College, French Lick, IN.

Romero, C. (2015, March). Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets: How Students Beliefs About Intelligence Impact Students' Motivation and Achievement. SXSWedu, Austin, TX.

Beaubien, J. (2015, January). Raising Student Achievement Using Adaptive Beliefs: Research on Growth Mindsets. Texas Association of School Administrators Mid-Winter Conference, Austin, TX.

Paunesku, D., Beaubien, J. (2015, January). Academic Mindsets: Building Student Engagement by Cultivating a Purpose for Learning. Workshop and presentation for teachers, principals and district administrators. New York City Department of Education, Brooklyn, NY.

Romero, C. (2014, December). Growth Mindset: Moving From a Focus on Judgment to a Focus on Growth and Development. Talk delivered at How Kids Learn Conference, San Francisco, CA.