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To Whom Does One Aspire? The Effect of Same Gender STEM Role Models on Aspirations and Performance.
Last registered on January 29, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
To Whom Does One Aspire? The Effect of Same Gender STEM Role Models on Aspirations and Performance.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002659
Initial registration date
January 29, 2018
Last updated
January 29, 2018 11:01 AM EST
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-12-15
End date
2018-03-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Inequality and social segregation are important topics in Economics. In this research, I study how inequality in primary school performance is driven by role models, and the extent to which children relate to them via gender and ethnicity. I run an experiment in English primary schools with random allocation to a role model intervention during exam preparation period in spring term. The treatment aims at raising self-efficacy for and providing information on the usefulness of Maths. The interventions occurred as video recordings of TED Talk-like speeches by successful STEM professionals of different gender and ethnicity. To measure the effect of role models on Maths attainment, I consider performance in standardized Maths tests two months after the intervention. I find positive effects on performance of pupils who watched a video of a speaker of the same gender. The effect is significant compared to seeing an opposite gender speaker, and no speaker at all in the control group. The effect of same gender speakers is largely driven by boys.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fortmann, Ruth. 2018. "To Whom Does One Aspire? The Effect of Same Gender STEM Role Models on Aspirations and Performance.." AEA RCT Registry. January 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2659-1.0.
Former Citation
Fortmann, Ruth. 2018. "To Whom Does One Aspire? The Effect of Same Gender STEM Role Models on Aspirations and Performance.." AEA RCT Registry. January 29. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2659/history/25327.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2017-03-14
Intervention End Date
2017-04-17
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Survey measures of educational aspirations and growth mindset;
performance in national standardised Maths tests at the end of primary school.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Educational aspirations are measured as the academic degree a participant wishes to achieve in their life time.
Growth mindset is characterised by embracing mistakes as part of learning. I measure this as children's attitude towards important exams.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
I study the effect of role models on Maths aspirations and performance, and how the effect differs for same gender and same ethnicity role models relative to "non-relatable" role models. To investigate this question, I run a randomised controlled trial in English primary schools. Treatment schools are randomly assigned to one version of a TED-like video featuring a STEM professional. The content of all versions of the video is very similar, but gender and ethnicity of the speaker vary across different versions. I compare Maths aspirations and test scores in end of primary school standardised exams of pupils who receive a same gender or same ethnicity role model to pupils who receive a speaker of different gender and ethnicity, and to pupils in the control group. This allows to trace out the effect of role models on aspirations and performance, and further the difference in impact of same gender and same ethnicity role models relative to role models of different gender and ethnicity.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomisation stratified by prior Maths attainment. Done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomisation into treatment and control group by school. Same gender and ethnicity treatment within treatment schools by pupil.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
42 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
1500 pupils
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
21 control schools, 21 treatment schools. 50% of pupils in treatment schools receive same gender treatment, 25% same ethnicity.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.4 standard deviations.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
LSE Research Ethics
IRB Approval Date
2016-09-01
IRB Approval Number
N/A