As a computer science professor, I have told some talented students one-on-one that they show a real aptitude for computer science and that they should seriously consider taking more classes in it.
I'm questioning the wisdom of this now that I'm reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, which cites extensive research on the benefits of having a "growth mindset" (the belief that intelligence can be grown) over a "fixed mindset" (that intelligence is unchanging).
Additionally, two of the students I recently told this to performed way below their ability in the second CS class. Of course, this is not statistically significant.
FWIW, I teach at a women's college with a large number of students who are the first in their families to attend college and/or from ethnic groups underrepresented in CS. Thus, all of my students are at risk of stereotype threat for at least one category to which they belong. It was my hope that pointing out their aptitude would help counter this and encourage them to pursue an area of strength.
Is there any research on whether it is a good idea to let students know a professor believes them to have aptitude, or is promoting the idea of innate aptitude likely to backfire?