Weight bias in SET scores

Last registered on October 04, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Weight bias in SET scores
Initial registration date
September 26, 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
October 04, 2023, 2:02 PM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

Management Development Institute Gurgaon

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Ahmedabad University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We examine whether students are weight-biased against professors and whether a professor's gender mitigate (or amplify) that bias in SET (Student Evaluation of Teaching) scores. We also examine the role of student gender in our expected weight bias.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Arora, Puneet and Moumita Roy. 2023. "Weight bias in SET scores." AEA RCT Registry. October 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12189-1.0
Experimental Details


We conduct our experiment at the beginning of the bi-semester 2023-2024 (end of September) with students enrolled in the 7 sections of Principles of Microeconomics course. The experiment will be conducted in the first class of the course where students will be taught the same topic by normal weight and overweight/obese looking instructors. We conduct the intervention for both male and female instructors to see whether the effect differs by gender.

Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. SET scores as reflected in six variables: Quality of instructional material, Teaching Effectiveness, Preparation and Organization of class, Overall an interesting lecture, Overall evaluation of instructor.
2. Average SET score over all 13 questions asked in the evaluation form
3. Students' test scores on the quiz conducted at the end of the experimental lecture

Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will ask seven questions that relate to teaching effectiveness, we will take their average to create the Teaching Effectiveness variable

We will ask two questions that relate to Preparation and Organization of class, , we will take their average to create the Preparation and Organization of class variable

We will ask a total of 13 questions on the SET form, and we will average those to create the Average SET score

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment will be conducted in the first lecture of the Principles of Microeconomics course, where students will be randomly assigned to four treatment groups, with each treatment sitting in separate classrooms. There are close to 500 enrolled students in the course. We will conduct the experiment in multiple classrooms (and multiple slots if required) depending on student availability.

Students will pre-registered their preferred/available slot, where we collect information on their gender too. We will randomize them individually into the four treatments, stratified by gender using Stata's randomization program.

During the experiment, they will attend the lecture, followed by a short 8 questions multiple choice question quiz, followed by the SET form, demographics form and their beliefs to understand the role of social norms about female/male as professors and an individual's weight (fatness) as an impediment to success.

The experiment will be conducted in-person, with the lecture played on the projector, and quiz/SET/demographics/belief form created over google form, sent to each student over email to be filled in the class at the end of the lecture.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization conducted using Stata
Randomization Unit
Individual level randomization, with stratification by gender
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
110+ students in each of the four treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With our expected sample size, we should be able to detect a 0.2 sd weight-bias effect with 80% statistical power. Prior research (Boring and Philippe, 2021) shows that the gender bias in SET scores are expected to be larger than 0.14sd. Our own research (working paper Arora and Roy, 2023) also shows such expected effect to be greater than 0.2sd. We expect to find similar levels of weight-bias effect size in our study.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ahmedabad University IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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