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NEW UPDATE: Completed trials may now upload and register supplementary documents (e.g. null results reports, populated pre-analysis plans, or post-trial results reports) in the Post Trial section under Reports, Papers, & Other Materials.
Strengthening Students’ Resilience
Last registered on March 02, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Strengthening Students’ Resilience
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005500
Initial registration date
February 25, 2020
Last updated
March 02, 2020 3:48 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
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Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-02-24
End date
2021-03-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Our research question is whether a mobile application that teaches students from disadvantaged backgrounds how to buffer themselves against the stressors of university life through their social group identities can improve students’ completion of tertiary studies and academic performance. A secondary question is whether the app improves re enrolment rates in the subsequent semester.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Chu, Eileen et al. 2020. "Strengthening Students’ Resilience." AEA RCT Registry. March 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5500-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The treatment group will receive access to an app called Grok, which involves students maintaining a zen garden that is a visual representation of their social connections, both within and beyond university. The app is designed to shift student’s mindset over the course of around 16 weeks to develop better means for coping, reacting to academic stressors.
Students must complete different social, wellbeing as well as academic exercises each week in order to maintain different elements of the garden. Each element of this garden is directly linked to an outcome designed to minimise negative attributions about one’s performance at university.
Intervention Start Date
2020-02-24
Intervention End Date
2020-07-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
academic performance, completion of units of study
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcome measure for academic performance is the average subject marks received for units studied in semester 1, 2020. Subject marks are expressed as a score out of 100.
The primary outcome measure for completion of tertiary studies is the completion rate of study units that students are enrolled in beyond the census date in the 2020 autumn semester (31 March for WSU, 20 March for UON).
For both primary outcomes, the unit of analysis will be study units, clustered at the student level.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary outcome measures for the trial relate to: withdrawal rates (as opposed to non completion rates), student re-enrolments in semester 2, and students’ subjective well-being and identification with university life.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The intervention will be evaluated through a clustered, multisite two-arm randomised controlled trial (RCT) in two public universities. Participants will be allocated as they register with a 50% chance of allocation to treatment. Participants will be undergraduates at participating universities. They will be invited to participate through a range of on-campus activities (such as free ice-cream or bbqs), direct email to their registered email address, and promotion in class.
Prizes of up to AUD500 will be offered through a lottery process for participation.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Participants will be randomised at the time of registration in the app. The app will randomise participants with a 50% chance of allocation to treatment.
Randomization Unit
Individual students are the unit of randomisation. Since their study units will be the units of analysis, each student represents a cluster of study units.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
6,000 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 18,000 study units
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be approximately 3,000 students per arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
For the ‘performance’ outcome measure, our power calculations suggest that we need 1,842 participants to detect an increase of around 2 subject marks (a Cohen’s d of 0.1) at an 80% level of statistical power (treatment proportion = 0.5, alpha = 0.05, one-tailed test). For the ‘completion’ outcome measure, our power calculations suggest that 6,602 participants will detect an increase in the completion rate from approximately 80 per cent to approximately 82 per cent at an 80% level of statistical power (treatment proportion = 0.5, alpha = 0.05, one-tailed).
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Newcastle Human Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2019-11-22
IRB Approval Number
H-2019-0203
IRB Name
University of Newcastle Human Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2019-11-22
IRB Approval Number
H-2019-0203
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre-analysis plan

MD5: b74e5dda9329122d064b2a05aaacceb7

SHA1: 0864121d9648e9fa00d5a829dc7ffe3474167864

Uploaded At: February 25, 2020

Pre-analysis plan

MD5: b74e5dda9329122d064b2a05aaacceb7

SHA1: 0864121d9648e9fa00d5a829dc7ffe3474167864

Uploaded At: February 25, 2020