The idea that success in mathematics is only available to those born as “mathematics people” has been challenged in recent years by neuroscience, showing that mathematics pathways develop in the brain through learning and practice. This paper reports on a blended professional learning model of online and in-person meetings during which 40 teachers in 8 school districts in the US learned about the new brain science, challenging the “math person” myth, as well as effective mathematics teaching methods. We refer to the combination as a Mathematical Mindset Approach. Using mixed methods, we conducted a one-year study to investigate teacher and student learning in a Mathematical Mindset network. We collected data on teacher and student beliefs, teacher instructional practice, and student learning gains on state achievement tests. The results from our quantitative analyses found statistically significant positive improvements in student beliefs, teacher’s instructional practice, and on students’ math test scores. The mindset approach particularly raised the achievement of girls, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Based on our qualitative analysis, we propose that the success of the intervention rests upon two central factors: (1) The different forms of PD served to eradicate the learning myths that had held up teachers and learners; and that (2) Teachers had space for identity work as mathematical learners.
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