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Peer Effects of Desk Mates on Students' Academic Outcomes—A Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment in Hungarian Schools
Last registered on April 05, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Peer Effects of Desk Mates on Students' Academic Outcomes—A Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment in Hungarian Schools
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002610
Initial registration date
April 03, 2018
Last updated
April 05, 2018 11:05 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2017-04-03
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We are conducting a large-scale randomized field experiment in Hungarian schools that randomly assigns students to desk mates within classrooms. We investigate how desk mates affect students’ own academic outcomes.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Elwert, Felix and Tamas Keller. 2018. "Peer Effects of Desk Mates on Students' Academic Outcomes—A Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment in Hungarian Schools." AEA RCT Registry. April 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2610-1.0.
Former Citation
Elwert, Felix, Felix Elwert and Tamas Keller. 2018. "Peer Effects of Desk Mates on Students' Academic Outcomes—A Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment in Hungarian Schools." AEA RCT Registry. April 05. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2610/history/27668.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We randomly assigned students to desk mates within classrooms. All students within a classroom were randomly assigned to free-standing two-person desks via unconstrained random partitioning. Teachers were instructed to employ the intended seating chart in three subjects—mathematics, Hungarian literature, and Hungarian grammar—for the duration of the fall 2017 semester.

Our primary treatment variables are (ii) desk mate's baseline (Spring 2017) GPA in math, literature, and grammar, and (ii) desk mate's gender.
Intervention Start Date
2017-09-04
Intervention End Date
2018-01-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome is (i) students' endline (Fall 2017) GPA in mathematics, literature, and grammar, and (ii) students' standardized reading test scores at enplane.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We also explore the effect of desk-mate characteristics on students’ performance in teacher written (local) tests, monthly GPAs, subject-specific grades, and the like and dislike of school subjects
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We execute a large-scale randomized field experiment in 195 classrooms of 41 Hungarian primary schools. The intervention consists of randomizing the seating chart within each classroom at the beginning of the 2017 fall semester and encouraging adherence until the end of the semester in January 2018. Endline outcomes data are collected and will become available to the research team in May 2018.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Within each classroom, we assigned students to free-standing two-person desks via unconstrained random partitioning. Randomization was based on Spring 2017 class rosters, using a computer. To account for entries and exits from the Spring class roster, we stipulated a replacement algorithm and defined the "intended seating chart" as the randomized seating chart after the application of the replacement algorithm.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 3,800 students in 195 classrooms of 41 schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 3,800 students.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
This is a networked trial for peer effects. We analyze the outcomes of approximately 3,800 students. Each student is both subject in the analysis and serves as the peer for his or her desk mate.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Hungarian Academy of Science
IRB Approval Date
2017-12-12
IRB Approval Number
N/A
IRB Name
University of Wisconsin-Madison
IRB Approval Date
2018-02-19
IRB Approval Number
2018-0093
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS