Randomized Educational Interventions on Social Interactions and Incentives in the Classroom Environment

Last registered on September 27, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Randomized Educational Interventions on Social Interactions and Incentives in the Classroom Environment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0010058
Initial registration date
September 26, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 27, 2022, 12:00 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Koc University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2022-05-09
End date
2025-06-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We design and evaluate a series of RCTs, based on the idea of creating settings with different types of social interactions among students in the educational environment. The interventions are based on designing a set of novel educational curricula on coding, and using them as a backdrop for inducing certain types of interactions. The context of coding allows us to create a learning environment that can mimic the classroom, with exogenous rules for interactions, performance, and rewards. That is, we create our own educational setting where interactions are induced in pre-determined ways within a learning/performance context. The larger RCT has three treatment arms, based on implementing three types of coding curricula that have distinct features and are hypothesized to have distinct effects. In the first arm, we implement a cooperative learning environment within the coding program, with teamwork. In the second arm, we implement a learning environment within the coding program that involves competitive elements. These arms constitute two distinct interventions that are each compared with a third arm, where we implement the same coding program but given individually. A fourth arm serves as pure control. We aim to measure the effect of the interventions on distinct sets of outcomes, including cognitive and non-cognitive skills, competitive and cooperative behavior, beliefs about oneself and others, attitudes towards outgroups (in terms of gender and refugee status), friendship networks, learning outcomes and performance at school. In addition, we use data collected during the program to explore the mechanisms and heterogeneity of treatment effects.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Ertac, Seda . 2022. "Randomized Educational Interventions on Social Interactions and Incentives in the Classroom Environment ." AEA RCT Registry. September 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10058-1.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention 1 (Cooperation): This intervention aims to induce cooperative interactions among students through teamwork, within a novel program where children learn how to code.

Intervention 2 (Competition): This intervention induces a learning/performance environment that involves competitive elements, again within a novel coding program.

Intervention 3 (Individual Coding): In this intervention, children learn coding individually, without structured cooperative or competitive interactions/incentives.

Pure Control: This is a group of schools where no external program is implemented (the policy-relevant control group in the Turkish educational setting).

The interventions are implemented in-class, by external instructors trained extensively by the research team, in a large sample of 4th graders in public elementary schools in Istanbul, Turkey.
Intervention Start Date
2022-09-26
Intervention End Date
2022-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The larger RCT embeds three different interventions. The outcome variables hypothesized to be affected partially differ for the three different interventions.

In terms of methodology, outcome variables to be collected can be grouped under the following categories: 1) Outcomes measured by incentivized behavioral tasks, 2) Outcomes measured by self-reports, 3) Outcomes measured by objective tests administered by the research team, 4) Administrative data (e.g. school grades, behavioral conduct), 5) Data coming from teacher surveys.

Below are the primary outcomes associated with each intervention.

Intervention 1 (Cooperation): Primary outcome measures are cooperative behavior, in-group and out-group altruism, beliefs about/attitudes toward out-groups (over gender and refugee status), friendship networks, willingness to compete and gender differences therein, classroom cohesion level, behavioral conduct at school, learning outcomes from the coding program, performance in math, behavior in groups (leadership, power).

Intervention 2 (Competition): Primary outcome measures are willingness to compete and gender differences therein, beliefs about/attitudes towards out-groups, friendship networks (over gender), learning outcomes from the coding program, performance in math, gender-related behavior in groups (leadership, power).

Intervention 3 (Individual Coding): Cognitive skills, algorithmic thinking, strategic thinking, performance in math, creativity, self-confidence in math, occupational/STEM aspirations, learning outcomes from the coding program.

Details of these measurements, several of which will involve the design of novel behavioral tasks, are to be provided in the pre-analysis plans for each intervention.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Note that the measures described for each intervention are to be collected in all four groups, since the two distinct interventions (coding with cooperation and competition) share the individual coding and pure control groups as control. However, the interventions target different types of behavior, and hence give rise to partly different hypotheses in terms of expected effects on behavior (described in the pre-analysis plans). For example, while all coding interventions are hypothesized to improve algorithmic thinking and STEM aspirations, only the cooperative intervention is hypothesized to improve prosociality.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Data on some variables will be collected to put forward data for mechanisms for treatment effects and for heterogeneity. For the intervention with competition, these include self-confidence, social confidence, survey measures of attitudes towards and response to competition (e.g. how relaxed one is in competitive environments), and a behavioral measure of risk attitude. For the intervention on teamwork, these include self-confidence, empathy, social confidence, how well the teams interacted/worked together, and attitudes towards responsibility. The pass-through of attitudes and peer effects (e.g. on competitiveness and grit) across the different types of curricula will be studied as a separate research question, and related variables will be collected (to be described in pre-analysis plan).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We have 35 schools in each treatment cell: competition, cooperation, and individual, and 35 in control; a total of 140 schools. In each school, we have three classrooms in the program, randomly selected out of the classrooms that satisfy pre-established criteria as regards class size and the number of refugee students. Every classroom in the same school receives the same treatment (cooperation, competition, or individual coding). Baseline data were collected from the schools in our sample in May-June 2022.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the school.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
140 schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
The number of students officially registered in the rosters received at the time of study plan was 14512.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
35 schools in coding with cooperation, 35 schools in coding with competition, 35 schools in coding-individual, 35 schools in pure control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Koc University Committee on Human Research
IRB Approval Date
2020-07-05
IRB Approval Number
2020.303.IRB3.110 (START DATE- 05.07.2020)