Values Affirmation Exercise in Indian Schools

Last registered on December 28, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Values Affirmation Exercise in Indian Schools
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000410
Initial registration date
June 20, 2014
Last updated
December 28, 2017, 12:03 PM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Waseda University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University College Dublin
PI Affiliation
University of Tokyo
PI Affiliation
Hitotsubashi University
PI Affiliation
Institute of Developing Economies
PI Affiliation
Institute of Developing Economies

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2013-12-01
End date
2016-07-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The social psychological research on "self-affirmation" has demonstrated that brief psychological interventions can have a long-term impact by alleviating psychological threat, such as social identity threat. Among such interventions that have been tested repeatedly in the US is the values affirmation (VA) exercise, the experimental manipulation of having people write about core personal values (Cohen and Sherman 2014). The exercise is easy to implement and typically takes less than 30 minutes.

Empirical studies based on randomized control trials demonstrate that a set of relatively brief writing exercises repeated over the course of an academic year can be effective in countering social identity threats and thereby closing the learning gaps between the minority (such as African American and Latino students) and non-minority students in middle schools (e.g,. Cohen et al 2006). Similar effects have been observed for socioeconomically disadvantaged students and for female students (learning physics) at the college level.

We test whether similar effects can be replicated in the context of the potential social identity threats among school children within the Indian caste system. We randomly assign students in 7 to 10th grade into the treatment and control groups and implement a similar set of values affirmation exercises as conducted in the US. We monitor the administrative records of examination scores and attendance of the participating students before and after the intervention (up to two years) to measure the impact. In addition, in order to understand the mechanisms through which the psychological intervention works, we conduct baseline and follow-up surveys of the students and of their households to obtain information on student network patterns, household characteristics and learning environments of the students.

If found effective, similar psychological interventions may be considered as a potential policy option for improving learning achievements among children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds that is inexpensive and relatively easy to implement in developing country settings.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Fuwa, Nobuhiko et al. 2017. "Values Affirmation Exercise in Indian Schools." AEA RCT Registry. December 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.410-2.0
Former Citation
Fuwa, Nobuhiko et al. 2017. "Values Affirmation Exercise in Indian Schools." AEA RCT Registry. December 28. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/410/history/24545
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)

Intervention Start Date
2014-07-01
Intervention End Date
2015-04-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
educational achievements (school attendance, homework activities, periodical test scores)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The population of our experimental study is the students enrolled in grade levels 7 to 10 in public schools with ties with our partner NGO specializing in education. Students in each classroom are randomly assigned to either the treatment or the control group. The treatment is double blind (treatment status remains unknown to both students and teachers).

Students in the treatment group complete a brief essay writing assignment confirming their values, following Cohen et al (2006). Students are first asked to review a set of values (such as relationships with family or friends, creativity, being smart), to choose the value that is the most important to them, and then to write a brief essay about why the selected value is important to them. Students in the control group are also asked to review the same set of values but then to choose the value that is least important to them and to write a brief essay about why the selected value may be important to someone else.

Throughout the academic year, we monitor the administrative records of examination scores and attendance of the participating students before and after the intervention (up to two years) in order to measure the impact of the intervention. In addition, in order to understand the mechanisms through which the psychological intervention works, we conduct baseline and follow-up surveys of the students and of their households to obtain information on student network patterns, household characteristics and home learning environment of the students.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
randomization is done based on the list of enrolled students, in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
individual students
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1
Sample size: planned number of observations
roughly 900 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
roughly 900 students (450 control, 450 treatment)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Waseda University Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2014-05-09
IRB Approval Number
2014-007

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
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