COVA+CSLE Mindset vs Traditional

A Comparison of the COVA+CSLE Mindset and Motivation with the Traditional Teacher Centered Approach

Components COVA +CSLE Traditional Approach
Mindset The growth mindset is promoted through the power of yet and a learning environment that rewards effort, grit, and persistence. If the growth mindset is promoted, there is an over emphasis on rigor and the traditional processes that reward test scores and grades.
Failure The learner is encouraged to fail quickly and fail forward in order to accept the fact that errors and error correction are a natural part of learning and growth. Teachers require students to provide the right answer and there is little tolerance for errors and failure.
Collaborate Humans are social beings and we thrive in community so learning how to effectively communicate and collaborate is a central part of the learning process. Teachers and the school system encourage competition and when collaboration is used it is within tightly controlled aspects of more traditional group work.
Feedback Formative strategies like feedback, feed forward, or educative assessments that help the learner to align outcomes with activities and assessment provided by a trusted instructor are the key to learner achievement. When feedback is provided, it is used to show the student what they got wrong and what they can do to meet the standards and conform to the requirements and authority of the mandated curriculum.
Rubrics Because of the diverse nature of authentic learning, rubrics must be flexible enough to allow for a diversity of projects. Satisfying audience needs, solutions to real problems and, effective communication are key factors to promote creativity. Rubrics are used prescriptive checklists and precisely dictate all aspects of the student’s assignment and must be very closely aligned to the curriculum standards. These rubrics leave little room for creativity and personal expression.

A highly controlled approach to information delivery also leads to negative aspects of mindset, failure, feedback, and collaboration. As we can see from the table, an emphasis on test scores, grades, and rigor can promote the fixed mindset. In contrast, the COVA and CSLE approach promotes the growth mindset and the construction of a learning environment that fosters experimentation and collaboration. Traditional quizzes and tests are replaced with opportunities for formative feedback which researchers like Hattie (2008, 2011) have confirmed are the most important factors for contributing to student achievement.


Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hattie, J. (2011, November 28). Visible learning Pt1. Disasters and below average methods [Video]. Retrieved from