Are teachers biased against poor students? Experimental evidence from Peru
Last registered on September 21, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Are teachers biased against poor students? Experimental evidence from Peru
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003331
Initial registration date
September 18, 2018
Last updated
September 21, 2018 12:10 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2015-01-02
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study tests whether teachers use students’ income to evaluate their scholastic aptitude, behavior, and education potential, using experimental data from teachers in elementary schools representative of the public sector in Metropolitan Lima, Peru. The experimental design was adapted from a landmark study from psychology (Darley and Gross, 1983), in which subjects viewed a video of a child and teacher in a testing situation, where the child’s performance provided a very noisy signal of scholastic aptitude (the child correctly answered some difficult questions and incorrectly answered some easy questions). Prior to the testing video, subjects were randomly assigned to two different priming videos that showed the same child playing at home, either in a working class neighborhood or a middle class neighborhood. We augment this experimental set-up with another variant in which the child provides a very clear signal of high scholastic aptitude. We test to see whether teachers assigned to the different experimental variants rate the child differently with respect to their estimates of the child's grade level, educational potential, and behavior.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Farfan Bertran, Maria Gabriela, Alaka Holla and Renos Vakis. 2018. "Are teachers biased against poor students? Experimental evidence from Peru." AEA RCT Registry. September 21. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3331/history/34538
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Teachers in public primary schools in Metropolitan Lima used tablets during an experimental session. They first watched a video that introduced a male fourth grade student and depicted his socioeconomic background. Then teachers watched a video of the same child being evaluated by a teacher in an oral examination that contained questions from the official fourth grade curriculum. After watching these two videos, teachers were asked to rate the child in terms of his current scholastic aptitude, behavior, and expected educational attainment. There were two variants of the introductory video: one in which the student comes from a poor background and one in which he comes from a less poor background. There were also two variants of the examination video: one in which the child's performance provides a noisy signal of aptitude and one in which the child's performance provides a clear signal of high aptitude.

Intervention Start Date
2015-05-11
Intervention End Date
2015-08-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Estimated grade level of the child, perceived behavior of the child, and expected educational attainment of the child
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Behavioral variables includes teachers assessment of the child's work habits, motivation, sociability, emotional maturity, and cognitive skill. These categories come from Darley and Gross (1983, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Teachers were randomly assigned to one of six conditions:
1. Teachers only see the examination video showing a noisy signal of aptitude.
2. Teachers only see the examination video showing a clear signal of high aptitude.
3. Teachers see an introductory video showing a poor child and the examination video showing a noisy signal of aptitude.
4. Teachers see an introductory video showing a non-poor child and the examination video showing a noisy signal of aptitude.
5. Teachers see an introductory video showing a poor child and the examination video showing a clear signal of high aptitude.
6. Teachers see an introductory video showing a non-poor child and the examination video showing a clear signal of high aptitude.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer
Randomization Unit
Teacher
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
600 teachers
Sample size: planned number of observations
600 teachers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 teachers per treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
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 and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers