Stopping the self-fulfilling prophecy of effort and aspiration

Last registered on November 06, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Stopping the self-fulfilling prophecy of effort and aspiration
Initial registration date
August 28, 2023

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 04, 2023, 6:21 AM EDT

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

Last updated
November 06, 2023, 9:00 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Brown University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Low socioeconomic status (SES) students aspire to lower educational and professional pathways than their high-SES peers, even when they have equal test scores . While lower aspirations could be the outcome of a rational decision due to greater external constraints and adverse living circumstances, recent evidence has pointed out that on top of these constraints, people living in disadvantaged situations are far more likely to face internal constraints (behavioral bias) that influence their decision-making process. The study seeks to analyze the impact of an intervention rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on students' goals, schooling, and wellbeing outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Pereira, Juan. 2023. "Stopping the self-fulfilling prophecy of effort and aspiration." AEA RCT Registry. November 06.
Experimental Details


The Intervention trains teachers to carry out an 8 weeks program rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for students that participate in a governmental program.
The training has three components: in-person, virtual weekly office hours, and nudge texts.
The governmental program tries during 4 semesters to re-insert students into formal education.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Enrollment in the next semester
- Enrollment in formal education (high school)
- Labor force participation
- Change in the long-term education goals and aspirations
- math learning
- language learning
- psychometrics (Mindset, Grit, Self-efficacy)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
- Goals
- Effort
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Game in the field

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
There is first a randomization at the teacher level, so as to have pure control groups.
Then, the program is randomized at the group level.
The game in the field randomized individuals.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer during the in-person training.
Randomization Unit
teachers for pure control, then groups for the program, and individual for some features of the game in the field
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
80 groups
There are 5 groups that are in the first phase, randomize to be pure control.
Sample size: planned number of observations
600 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
33 treated groups ~ 250 students
48 control groups ~ 350 students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.12 on enrollment outcomes 0.23 on learning outcomes

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Universidad de Montevideo
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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