TOP: Tutoring Online Project in Italy

Last registered on April 03, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

TOP: Tutoring Online Project in Italy
Initial registration date
March 27, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 31, 2020, 3:17 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 03, 2023, 11:47 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Harvard Kennedy School

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Harvard Kennedy School

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Italy’s government ordered the closure of all schools and universities in the country. Educators were forced to rapidly adapt to online/ distance learning methods. At home, students from underprivileged backgrounds are less likely to have proper learning support. This inequality might increase existing learning gaps by socioeconomic characteristics. The intent of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention that provides individual online tutoring to students whose background does not allow them to properly follow learning activities during the school closure and in periods with in-person instruction. Specifically, the intervention randomly assign middle school students to a tutor -a volunteer college student- who provides online tutoring every week. We will evaluate the impact of the intervention in the short-term and long-term educational outcomes of students. In addition, we analyze impacts on socio-emotional skills, aspirations, and psychological well-being.

We run a pilot study in Spring 2020 and plan to scale up our efforts during the following academic years.

Additionally, in the 2022-2023 academic year, we will randomly assign 50% of tutors to receive additional materials aimed at encouraging students to interpret potential negative feedback from teachers and peers in a constructive manner. The goal of this intervention is to help remedial children develop a positive self-representation, increase effort in school, and enhance motivation.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Carlana, Michela and Eliana La Ferrara. 2023. "TOP: Tutoring Online Project in Italy." AEA RCT Registry. April 03.
Sponsors & Partners


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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The outcomes will include: (1) data collected from a questionnaire to students, including test score in math and reading, motivation, aspiration, self-efficacy, goals, soft-skills, mental health, and relationship with peers, teachers, parents (2) administrative outcomes on students' performance, grades, absences, track choice (3) data collected from a questionnaire to parents on soft skills of children (4) data collected from a questionnaire to teachers on homework and personality traits.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
self-perception of students’ performance, parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of students’ performance; vividness, emotions, and influence of positive and negative emotions of students.
In the academic year 2022-23, we will have measures of vividness, emotions, and influence of positive and negative emotions for tutors; life and academic satisfaction of tutors; tutors’ wellbeing; tutors’ relationship with peers, professors, parents.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In each wave, we expect a limited availability of tutors, due to that constrain students are randomly assigned to online tutors. Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, we will randomly select half of the recruited tutors to provide them with additional instructions on how to help students to create a positive self-representation to enhance effort in school and increase motivation.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomisation is the individual.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We expect to have around 1,000 students and to randomly assign them to treatment and control condition.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We plan to have 1,000 students in each round.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be 500 students per treatment arm in each round.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials