Pygmalion Effect and Classroom Networks: Evidence from Schools in Pakistan

Last registered on June 23, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Pygmalion Effect and Classroom Networks: Evidence from Schools in Pakistan
Initial registration date
June 20, 2021
Last updated
June 23, 2021, 8:36 AM EDT


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Primary Investigator

Harvard University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Toronto
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Teacher expectations, as literature in psychology has shown, can matter for a student’s performance by creating self-fulfilling prophecies, which is known as the Pygmalion Effect (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968, 1992). Using an experimental design, we aim to shed light on answering whether this hypothesized effect of teacher expectations can be harnessed to improve student effort, achievement and engagement, in a low-resource context, like Pakistan. As part of our treatment, teachers deliver statements conveying high expectations of effort to students. Using an experimental design, our study aims to shed light on whether: (a) expectations of high effort and achievement affect student performance and engagement; (b) the treatment effect differs according to whether these expectations are conveyed to a student individually or in a pair and (c) the treatment effect differs by gender. We will also analyze how the intervention affects student peer interactions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Asim, Minahil , Ronak Jain and Vatsal Khandelwal. 2021. "Pygmalion Effect and Classroom Networks: Evidence from Schools in Pakistan." AEA RCT Registry. June 23.
Experimental Details


Using an experimental design, we aim to answer whether high teacher expectations can be used to improve student effort, cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes, parental engagement, and teacher engagement.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main student-level outcomes include self-efficacy, self-esteem, motivation and effort, student stress levels, growth mindset attitudes, and academic performance. Our main class-level outcomes include attendance, engagement, punishments/warnings, classroom behavior.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We intend to additionally measure the following teacher-level outcomes: expectations, engagement, and perceived interest in child's education. Our parental-level outcomes include engagement, investment in child's education and beliefs.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We divided ~320 classrooms in our study into three groups: (1) Control Group (status quo) (2) Individual Treatment Arm, where student-specific high teacher expectations and encouragement were conveyed individually and (3) Peer Treatment Arm, where student-specific high teacher expectations and encouragement were conveyed to a student and in addition, they were randomly matched with another classmate (of same gender) and were encouraged to work together.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Cluster Randomization (using STATA)
Randomization Unit
Classrooms at the first stage of randomization (i.e. dividing our sample into control and treatment group). In our treatment arms, we further use within classroom randomization at the second stage.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
~320 Classrooms
Sample size: planned number of observations
~2000 Students and Parents and ~130 Teachers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
~106 classrooms per treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard University-Area Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Central University Research Ethics Committee, University of Oxford
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number