Spotlight on Research

Click on a research topic below to view our archive of studies, articles, and other research of particular significance for girls.


  • Stereotype Threat
    • The concept of stereotype threat, in which fear that we might confirm a negative stereotype can lead to behavior that actually does confirm the stereotype, was developed by Claude Steele in his study of racial identity. Subsequently, this concept has been applied in other contexts, including the negative stereotype that girls are not as gifted at math as boys. Two articles, one scholarly and one more popularized, investigate the ways that stereotype threat can impede girls' progress in math, as well as strategies that teachers can use to combat its influence. CLICK HERE to read "Stereotype Threat and Women's Math Performance", and/or CLICK HERE to read "Girls and Math Study Combats Stereotype Threat".
  • Growth Mindset
    • One key provision in combatting stereotype threat is the understanding that abilities are not fixed and can grow through exercise and application. These are the central aspects of what Carol Dweck identifies as a growth mindset. While this approach has had considerable currency in the educational world, Dweck updates her research in the following article in Education Week. CLICK HERE to read "Dweck revisits the growth mindset."
  • Compassion and Commitment
    • In its Purpose, Westridge identifies "compassion and commitment to ethical action" as key elements in its vision for developing disposition in our students. The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) provides empirical evidence of ways to encourage and engender these characteristics. Transcending narrow disciplinary boundaries, the work of GGSC offers both insight and strategies for creating the conditions under which students can develop their capacity for compassion and empathy. CLICK HERE to read further on the kinds of research that supports the development of these key characteristics.
  • The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain
    • Following the focus on adolescent development in girls presented in Lisa Damour's Untangled, Sarah Jayne Blakemore outlines new research on the developing brain that offers both insight into how and why adolescents behave as they sometimes do, as well as reassurance that on-going brain development into adulthood supports continued cognitive and emotional growth. CLICK HERE to watch Blakemore's TED Talk.
  • Emotions, Learning, and the Brain
    • All teachers know, through personal experience, that emotions play a role in learning. Too often, emotions are seen as disruptors or impediments to engagement. Recent research, however, embraces the positive role of emotions in learning. In her recent book, Emotions, Learning, and the Brain, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a researcher at USC's Brain and Creativity Institute, documents how an awareness of students' emotional engagement can play a transformative role in how we teach. Grounded in both neuroscientific research and classroom practices, the book offers new insights into opportunities for teachers to enhance existing practices to capitalize on effective emotional engagement to support and advance student learning. CLICK HERE to find out more about the Immordino-Yang's book.


  • Supporting Girls to Lead Lives of Impact
    • Co-author with Carol Gilligan of Meeting at the Crossroads, the first comprehensive study of girls' experience in an all-girls school, Lyn Mikel Brown has developed a program to support girls as they become involved in projects to support social change – in Westridge's terms, to lead lives of impact. Powered by Girl (2016), her newest book, documents the experiences of girls and their mentors as they navigate the waters of identifying social issues, designing projects that engage them, and creating intergenerational support systems that empower both girls and their mentors. CLICK HERE to read more.
  • To Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure
    • Westridge's goals include developing young women with "courage, compassion, and commitment to ethical action and social and environmental responsibility," as well as the "confidence and courage to stand up and speak out with convictions that embody our core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, and inclusion." How do girls develop courage? In her TED Talk, Caroline Paul outlines the value of physical challenges for girls as a path to personal confidence and the pursuit of bravery. CLICK HERE to watch the video.


  • Seven Ways Mindfulness Can Help Teachers
    • Patricia A. Jennings explains why teachers should cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. (This article also contains a video by Megan Cowan, co-founder of Mindful Schools.) READ MORE.
  • Mindfulness in Education Research Highlights
    • By Emily Campbell - An annotated bibliography of studies of mindfulness in education. READ MORE.
  • UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
    • The Mindful Awareness Research Center is a partner of the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology within the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. MARC's mission is to foster mindful awareness across the lifespan through education and research to promote well-being and a more compassionate society. LEARN MORE.
  • Greater Good Science Center
    • The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. LEARN MORE.
  • Mindful Schools
    • Mindful Schools offer six-week mindfulness courses for educators and parents, providing opportunities for teachers to learn curriculum and strategies to teach social, emotion, and attentional skills to their students, and guiding parents in modeling mindfulness techniques for their children. LEARN MORE.


  • Intrinsic Motivation
    • Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards led the way for discussions and dialogue about intrinsic motivation when it was published over 20 years ago. Recent research by Christina Hinton explores and extends this notion by identifying three key elements in fostering intrinsic motivation: autonomy, relatedness, and competence. CLICK HERE to read an overview of her work "Intrinsically Motivated," and follow the links in the article to additional resources.
  • Three Common Study Habits that Surprisingly Don't Work
    • Read! Reread! Highlight! Summarize! These strategies underlie an approach to teaching and learning that holds a strong position in education. They are practices which we have all used, and which we often encourage our students to use. Some recent research, however, indicates that these strategies do not produce optimal results. John Grohol identifies the weaknesses in these strategies and suggests alternatives that have greater effectiveness. CLICK HERE to read the article.
  • Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
    • In Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, two neuroscientists and a novelist combine skills to present a narrative of learning that embraces current research on effective strategies for learning. Applicable to all grade levels, their findings provide a fresh look at some well-tried practices that may not achieve the results that they seek. CLICK HERE to find out more about the book.
  • What Standardized Tests Don't Measure
    • Alarmingly, 44% of American students in grades 6-12 do not feel a sense of self-worth at school. Philadelphia high school junior Nikki Adeli knows firsthand the challenges that young people face navigating standardized tests. Through the story of her own real-world educational experiences beginning in Mississippi by way of Iran, Nikki reminds us all that the value and purpose of schools is to grow a citizen not produce a good test-taker. CLICK HERE to watch the video.

An independent, forward-thinking
day school for girls, grades 4–12

324 Madeline Drive
Pasadena, California 91105
Phone: 626-799-1153
Fax: 626-799-9236

Westridge School admits students of any race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, tuition assistance programs, athletic, and other school-administered programs.

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