Learning to work towards goals: The impact of a goal setting intervention on improving learning outcomes.

Last registered on May 22, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Learning to work towards goals: The impact of a goal setting intervention on improving learning outcomes.
Initial registration date
September 20, 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, 11:25 AM EDT

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

Last updated
May 22, 2023, 4:10 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Utrecht University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
Utrecht University
PI Affiliation
Utrecht University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We use a randomized control trial with around 2000 students in 110 schools in Kenya. We study whether a soft skill intervention of “goal setting," that teaches students in their penultimate year of primary school how to set academic goals, improves learning outcomes on year-end exams. Students in treatment schools receive the goal setting intervention which consists of 25 lesson of 35 minutes each. We aim to answer the following questions: 1) To what extent does a goal setting intervention have an impact on improving learning outcomes (i.e., test scores on year-end exams)?; 2) To what extent are there gender differences in the impacts of a goal setting intervention on learning outcomes?, and 3) Are there any adverse impacts of the intervention on sub-populations (e.g. gender, low/high-performance) of students?
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Dam, Anaya et al. 2023. "Learning to work towards goals: The impact of a goal setting intervention on improving learning outcomes.." AEA RCT Registry. May 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10091-2.0
Experimental Details


The goal setting intervention typically consists of a weekly 35-minute in-school class during which students cover content of the goal setting curriculum, and each student fills out a goal-setting workbook. The curriculum contains 25 lessons spaced across the academic year. The lesson covers vocabulary, reading examples or short stories to explain concepts, working through exercises, a short free-writing task (approximately 100 words), and finally, stating four short- and long-term personal academic goals. At the end of class, the teacher checks in with the students, and some of them are called upon to share what they wrote in their workbook. The pedagogical content was designed by the Learning Innovation team at NewGlobe with feedback from the research team. The content was extensively piloted before implementation and is contextualized to the age group.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Test scores on end of the year exam (term 3) in Maths, English, Kiswahili,, Social Studies, Science.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We use a cluster randomized control trial (RCT) in 110 NewGlobe primary schools (1993 students) in Kenya in the penultimate year of primary school, i.e., Primary 7.

Schools are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups based on strata that were formed by pair-wise matching of historical KCPE scores within geographical provinces. All students in treatment schools received the goal setting intervention consisting of a weekly goal setting class consisting of 25 lessons of 35 minutes each. All students in the control schools carried on with a revision class for English lead by the teacher during this time.

We use student-level administrative data on mid- and end-term test scores in Maths, English, Kiswahili,, Social Studies and Science collected by NewGlobe. All data is anonymized by NewGlobe and shared with the researchers as per IRB.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Within a province, schools are rank-order based on the average total KCPE test score for all students in the school in the previous academic year (2020-2021). There are three provinces – Coastal, Central and Western. Within each province based on the rank ordered list, strata are created by taking two consecutive schools at a time. Two provinces have an odd number of schools, therefore, these provinces have one strata each with three (instead of two) schools. Within strata, schools are randomly assigned to treatment and control arm using Stata-assigned random numbers.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
110 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
1993 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
55 schools in goal setting treatment, 55 schools in control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS) IRB, University of Chicago.
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials