Dave Paunesku
Founder and Director


  • Behavior
  • Engagement

Dave Paunesku is the founder and executive director of the Stanford University Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS). His research investigates how students’ beliefs about school — or academic mindsets — affect their motivation and achievement. His team works with leading motivation researchers and with educational institutions to develop, validate and disseminate academic mindset interventions: educational practices that help students learn to think about school in more motivating ways. Under his leadership, PERTS has conducted randomized controlled trials of such programs at more than a hundred middle schools, high schools and colleges around the United States. It has also worked with large, online educational content providers, such as the Khan Academy, to impact hundreds of thousands of online learners. While brief and inexpensive, these practices have been shown to have lasting, positive effects on student persistence and achievement under the most rigorous scientific standards.