The effects of non-financial incentives on the retention and performance of volunteer tutors
Last registered on November 01, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The effects of non-financial incentives on the retention and performance of volunteer tutors
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003406
Initial registration date
October 30, 2018
Last updated
November 01, 2018 8:53 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Monash University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
BRAC
PI Affiliation
Monash University
PI Affiliation
Monash University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2014-04-01
End date
2016-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We embed a large-scale randomized controlled experiment within an existing volunteer tutor program of BRAC in Bangladesh to examine the effects of offering non-financial incentives on volunteers’ dropout rates and performance. Tutors are assigned randomly into one of three treatment groups several months after they have signed up to the volunteer program. In the first group, tutors are offered a certificate of excellence awarded in a public ceremony conditioning on their students having achievement gains. If their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In the second group, tutors are also offered a certificate of excellence awarded conditioning on their students having achievement gain, but the certificate is awarded privately. If their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In the third group, tutors are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private regardless of their students’ performance. Differences in dropout rates and student performance across treatments inform us whether offering the performance-contingent certificate is effectively in improving retention and performance of volunteers and whether volunteers are motivated by image-concerns.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Islam, Asad et al. 2018. "The effects of non-financial incentives on the retention and performance of volunteer tutors." AEA RCT Registry. November 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3406-1.0.
Former Citation
Islam, Asad et al. 2018. "The effects of non-financial incentives on the retention and performance of volunteer tutors." AEA RCT Registry. November 01. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3406/history/36632.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
BRAC introduced the Chhatrabandhu (CB) Program in 2007 with the primary objective of improving the educational outcomes of disadvantaged secondary school students in rural Bangladesh. The CB program is a nationwide program that involves more than 40,000 volunteer tutors and 1,400 schools in 55 districts across Bangladesh. In 2015, we embed a large-scale randomized controlled experiment in the flagship CB program to examine the effects of offering non-financial incentives on volunteers’ dropout rates and performance. Our experiment involves 4,162 volunteer tutors who provide free after-school tutoring services in mathematics and English to more than 5,000 underprivileged secondary students in 495 schools. The volunteer tutors in our experiment are assigned randomly into one of three treatment groups several months after they have signed up to the CB program. In the first group, tutors are offered a certificate of excellence awarded in a public ceremony conditioning on their students having achievement gains. If their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In the second group, tutors are also offered a certificate of excellence awarded conditioning on their students having achievement gain, but the certificate is awarded privately. If their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In the third group, tutors are awarded a certificate of appreciation (regular certificate) in private regardless of their students’ performance. This regular certificate is BRAC’s status-quo policy for all volunteer tutors who complete the CB program, including those who work with schools that are not part of our field experiment.
Intervention Start Date
2015-04-20
Intervention End Date
2016-08-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We examine the effects of non-financial incentives on volunteers’ dropout decision and their students’ performance. We focus on three primary outcomes: (1) whether a volunteer has dropped out of the program before the final survey (right after students take the national public examination, in-school examination, and standardized tests); (2) students’ mathematics and English performance in the grade eight national public examination or grade seven in-school examination; and (3) students’ mathematics and English performance in standardized tests designed and administered by BRAC's Research and Evaluation Division.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Dropout is an indicator variable that takes the value of one if a volunteer has dropped out of the tutor program before students take the national public examination or in-school examination.

Students’ performance in the grade eight national public examination or grade seven in-school examination is measured using the grade point in the relevant subject (mathematics or English).

Students’ performance in the standardized test is measured using the raw score in the relevant subject (mathematics or English).
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In April 2014, we selected 495 non-government secondary schools from a list of schools in which BRAC was introducing the CB program for the first time to participate in our experiment. The selected schools are located in 49 districts (78 sub-districts) in which BRAC has the local resources to implement the experiment. From these 495 schools, our experiment includes 4,162 volunteer tutors (CBs). Between June and August of 2014, these volunteer tutors are matched with 5,730 grade 6 or 7 students from disadvantaged families.

Between January and February of 2015, we conduct a baseline survey on the CBs in our experiment. The survey collects information about their demographic, social, and economic characteristics, past academic achievement, as well as motivations/reasons for joining the program. The baseline survey also collects information about CBs’ students, such as the students’ performance in the grade 5 national public examination and the students’ socio-economic status.

We then assign each of the 495 schools randomly to one of three treatment groups. The three treatment groups are: (T1) performance-contingent public-recognition certificate group; (T2) performance-contingent private-recognition certificate group; and (T3) participation-based certificate group. In T1, tutors are offered a certificate of excellence awarded in a public ceremony if any of their students experiences gains in average grade points between grade-8 (or grade-7) and grade-5 examinations in mathematics and English. If their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In T2, tutors are also offered a certificate of excellence awarded conditioning on their students having achievement gains, but the certificate is awarded privately. Similarly, if their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In T3, tutors are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private regardless of their students’ performance.

We announce the treatments to the CBs around April of 2015 by mail and phone. CBs are not informed about the other treatments they are not assigned to. Because randomization is at the school level and secondary schools in rural Bangladesh are generally located far from each other, the possibility of information spillover is low.

In late 2015, we collect information about the dropout status of volunteer tutors from the local BRAC offices. In early 2016, we conduct a final survey on 3,012 CBs, while BRAC RED team administers mathematics and English standardized tests on 3,024 randomly selected students of CBs. Between March and May 2016, we collect information about students’ performance in the in-school and national public examinations.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is performed in office with the help of a computer and STATA.
Randomization Unit
Randomization was done at the school level. We ensure that average characteristics of volunteers and students are balanced across treatments.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
495 schools (165 schools per treatment category).
Sample size: planned number of observations
4,162 volunteer tutors and 5,730 students.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
165 schools in T1
165 schools in T2
165 schools in T3.
Approximately 1,400 CBs and 1,900 students per treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC)
IRB Approval Date
2013-08-19
IRB Approval Number
CF13/2102 – 2013001096
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Analysis Plan

MD5: 102ad3c59b0a3587e575da71d565d23f

SHA1: 93a6900c6579dc734528717739e094b167c20a34

Uploaded At: October 29, 2018

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
August 31, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
May 30, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
495 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
4,162 volunteer tutors and 5,730 students
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
165 schools, 1,398 volunteer tutors, and 1,886 students in T1. 165 schools, 1,384 volunteer tutors, and 1,947 students in T2. 165 schools, 1,380 volunteer tutors, and 1,897 students in T3.
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers