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

The Mindset Kit

The PERTS Mindset Kit has videos, readings, and activity suggestions that empower educators and parents to effectively promote learning mindsets in the students they work with.

Online Mindset Programs

PERTS creates and evaluates brief online programs that help students in high school and college develop learning mindsets. Our community college program is currently recruiting qualified colleges. Our high school learning mindset program is currently being evaluated through a double blind randomized controlled study with a nationally representative sample of students. It will be available to all schools in the U.S. starting in early 2017.

Reducing the Achievement Gap in College

We are working with the College Transition Collaborative to learn how to use social belonging interventions to reduce group-based achievement gaps in college. This is a partnership between researchers and administrators from more than twenty universities.

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

Teaching a lay theory before college narrows achievement gaps at scale  

Lay theory interventions raised first-year full-time college enrollment among students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds exiting a high-performing charter high school network or entering a public flagship university (experiments 1 and 2) and, at a selective private university, raised disadvantaged students’ cumulative first-year grade point average (experiment 3).

Yeager, D. S.*, Walton, G. M.*, Brady, S. T., Akcinar, E. N., Paunesku, D., Keane, L., Kamentz, D., Ritter, G., Duckworth, A. L., Urstein, R., Gomez E., Markus, H. R. Cohen, G. L., & Dweck, C. S. (2016). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

* The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

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 possess 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.


Laura Stahl

Laura Stahl

Director of Operations
Sarah Gripshover

Sarah Gripshover

Program Director
Chris Macrander

Chris Macrander

Carissa Romero

Carissa Romero

Jacquie Beaubien

Jacquie Beaubien

Senior Program Manager
Rachel Herter

Rachel Herter

Program Associate
Ben Haley

Ben Haley

Software Engineer
Abby Howard

Abby Howard

Research Coordinator
Nashalys Rodriguez

Nashalys Rodriguez

Research Coordinator
Rumen Iliev

Rumen Iliev

Senior Analyst
Matt Kandler

Matt Kandler

UI Developer
Daniel Greene

Daniel Greene

Program Associate
Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Technical Associate

Research Collaborators

Jason Okonofua

Jason Okonofua

Postdoctoral Scholar
Stanford University
Susana Claro

Susana Claro

Doctoral Candidate
Stanford University

Career Opportunities

PERTS is always searching for passionate and driven individuals to join our rapidly growing team.

Take a look at some of our open positions. If you don't see the position you were hoping for, please reach out and convince us why you'd be a great fit!

Explore all positions

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

In the News

Learn more about PERTS by reading some of these recent news articles from across the web.

Business Wire

“With Math I Can” Initiative Unveiled to Change Student Mindsets about Math

February 2, 2016

eCampus News

Stanford Expands Community College Success Program

January 29, 2016

USA Today

Short Videos to Teach 'Growth Mindset' to Students, Teachers

January 19, 2016


What ClassDojo Monsters Can Teach Kids About Growth Mindset

January 19, 2016


Beyond Working Hard: What Growth Mindset Teaches Us About Our Brains

December 29, 2015

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education Announces First Ever Skills for Success Grants and Initiative to Support Learning Mindsets and Skills

October 14, 2015

Education Week

Teachers Nurture Growth Mindsets in Math

September 8, 2015


Growth Mindset: How to Normalize Mistake Making and Struggle in Class

August 24, 2015

View more articles

2015, August 20, Education Week

Mindset Kit Aims to Put Research on Growth Mindset, Engagement to Work

2015, July 9, Psychology Today

Using Psychology to Help At-Risk Students

2015, June 15, Education Week

Could Parents Be Allies in Schools' Efforts to Build Growth Mindsets in Students?

2015, June 10, MindShift

Preschoolers and Praise: What Kinds of Messages Help Kids Grow?

2015, April 27, Stanford News

Online 'Mindset' Interventions Help Students Do Better in School, Stanford Research Shows

2015, February 9, EdSource

Khan Academy Launches Ambitious Math 'Challenge'

2014, September 3, The Atlantic

How to Motivate Students to Work Harder

2014, August 19, edSurge

Khan Academy Believes You Can Learn Anything

2014, August 18, Mindshift

How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn

2014, July 24, edSurge

Growing a Mindset with the Right Words

2014, July 16, Mindshift

New Research: Students Benefit from Learning That Intelligence Is Not Fixed

2014, June 18, Positive Psychology News

“I can’t do it.” “Yet.”

2014, May 22, Seattle Times

Researchers: If Students Believe They Can Get Smarter, They Often Do

2014, May 15, New York Times

Who Gets to Graduate?

2014, April 6, Education Week

Studies Offer Practical Ways to Bring 'Growth Mindset' Research to Schools

2013, November 20, Wall Street Journal

New Ways to Fight 'Imposter Fears'

2013, May 22, Scientific American

How to Expel Hurtful Stereotypes from Classrooms across the Country

2013, February 22, Stanford News

Save your teens, save your marriage: Stanford's brief interventions

2013, February 20, edSurge News Brief

Stanford Research Offers Solution for Latino Student Woes

2012, December 19, edSurge News Brief

Stanford Research Lab Brings Effective Behavioral Interventions Online