School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Gail L Collins

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Elementary; Education, Educational Psychology


perseverance, reinforcement cues, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-esteem


This study examined the impact of "ability-based" and "effort-based" verbal reinforcement cues prior to task engagement in traditional sixth grade students attending Christian schools in northwest Indiana. Perseverance levels were measured during a numerically-based, problem solving task by tracking time signatures (in seconds) of the first, second, and third use of restricted "clues." The research population (n = 102) was randomly assigned into two groups (ability-cued and effort-cued). Statistical significance was found at all three measurements. Target measurement one revealed ME = 518.7 (SD = 310.7), MA = 402.4 (SD = 293.5), with two sample t(100df) = 1.94, p = 0.027. Target measurement two revealed ME = 645.9 (SD = 287.1), MA = 494.0 (SD = 296.8), with two sample t(100df) = 2.62, p = 0.004. Target measurement three revealed ME = 738.6 (SD = 249.1), MA = 586.6 (SD = 285.6), with two sample t(100df) = 2.86, p = 0.002. The null hypothesis stating ability-cued students would show greater levels of perseverance was rejected at all three measurement targets. Students receiving effort commendations prior to task engagement showed greater levels of perseverance than students receiving ability commendations.