I Promise to Work Hard: The Impact of Written Pledge on Student Performance

Last registered on September 09, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
I Promise to Work Hard: The Impact of Written Pledge on Student Performance
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008173
Initial registration date
September 06, 2021
Last updated
September 09, 2021, 7:01 PM EDT

Locations

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Ahmedabad University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Florida Gulf Coast University
PI Affiliation
Florida Gulf Coast University

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-09-03
End date
2023-08-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Students enter each course with an expectation about their academic performance, which is often an overestimation of their actual performance. Factors often attributed to such mismatch between the expected and actual performance are students' ex-ante overconfidence, incomplete and inaccurate information, inability to distinguish between expectations and aspirations, and other behavioral biases like present biasness, status-quo or limited attention. Using a field experiment, this paper studies the effectiveness of a non-binding pledge at mitigating these behavioral biases and its effect on students' effort, persistence and performance in the course. We also study whether varying social distance between the pledger and the pledgee affects the outcome of our intervention.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Arora, Puneet, Nicholas Wright and Jesse Wright. 2021. "I Promise to Work Hard: The Impact of Written Pledge on Student Performance." AEA RCT Registry. September 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8173-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Our intervention is a non-binding pledge in which students promise to study for x hours/week for the course and attain y grade in the course. x and y are students' self-reported study hours and target grades, respectively.
Intervention Start Date
2021-09-03
Intervention End Date
2023-08-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Attendance, Homework completion and grades, Midterm grades, Endterm grades, Drop-outs
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Using a field experiment, we randomly expose students to the pledge where they promise the pledgee to exert their self-reported amount of efforts to accomplish their expected grade, and examine whether it affects their effort, persistence and performance in the course. We also test whether varying social distance between the pledger and the pledgee causes differential impact of the pledge using an encouragement design, encouraging a portion of the treatment group to share their pledge with their student advisor or one of their friends.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by Qualtrics' own randomization algorithm
Randomization Unit
Individual/Student
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
10-15 classrooms
Sample size: planned number of observations
1400
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
700 treated group students, 700 control group students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Florida Gulf Coast University
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-02
IRB Approval Number
2021-66