Stimulating Curiosity to Enhance Learning: Results from a Randomized Intervention-Replication Trial

Last registered on November 30, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Stimulating Curiosity to Enhance Learning: Results from a Randomized Intervention-Replication Trial
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008629
Initial registration date
November 28, 2021
Last updated
November 30, 2021, 5:39 PM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
European University Institute

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-09-13
End date
2022-07-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Abstract
This trial is a replication trial of AEARCTR-0003957. We evaluate a large-scale pedagogical intervention that aims to cultivate and stimulate curiosity in the classroom environment. The study is motivated by the evidence on the importance of curiosity as a fundamental driver of academic achievement.

Teachers are given 6 months to implement the proposed pedagogy supported by the activities prescribed in the teacher toolkit. This trial involves 84 schools in the province of Adana, Turkey, and targets 4th-grade students. The objective of this trial is to i) replicate the findings of the previous trial, ii) increase the statistical power of the first trial by adding 84 more schools to the sample.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Alan, Sule. 2021. "Stimulating Curiosity to Enhance Learning: Results from a Randomized Intervention-Replication Trial." AEA RCT Registry. November 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8629-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

Sponsors

Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention involves intensive teacher training on a particular pedagogy, supported by prescribed activities. A total of 159 (out of 298) teachers from 43 (out of 84 schools) were invited to participate in seminars in October 2021. Teachers are given about 6 months to implement the proposed pedagogy supported by the activities prescribed in the teacher toolkit. The endline data collection is scheduled for May-June 2022.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-23
Intervention End Date
2022-05-08

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Choices and performances in a novel behavioral task
Objective test scores
Official end-of-year grades
Educational aspirations (study majors)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Choices and performances in a novel behavioral task: There will be 4 outcomes constructed using this task. These are i) interest in science, ii) desire to acquire knowledge, iii) knowledge retention

Details of these constructions are given in our pre-analysis plan in AEARCTR-0003957.

Test scores: We will conduct math, verbal and science tests in the class. The research team will prepare these tests based on the national curriculum of the relevant grade level. Performances in these tests will constitute our objective measures of math, verbal and science performances.
Grades: These will be end-of-year official grades. These grades are given by teachers based on students’ performances on exams, homework, and participation.

Educational aspirations: We will elicit students’ aspirations for study majors at the university.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1) Perseverance
2) Self-confidence
3) Risk aversion and ambiguity aversion
4) Survey reports of curiosity
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We will collect several secondary outcomes in the endline. These outcomes will help us understand potential channels through which treatment affects our primary outcomes. These secondary outcomes are
1. Perseverance. We will measure this using on a number of item set questions.
2. Self-confidence. For this, we will utilize our math, verbal and science tests. Specifically, we will ask students the number of questions they think they answered correctly for each test after the test is finished. The difference between the student's response and his/her actual performance constitutes our self-confidence measure.
3. Risk aversion and ambiguity aversion. These will be measured via incentivized tasks.
4. Survey reports of curiosity. We will measure this using on a number of item set questions.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study is a clustered randomized controlled trial where the unit of randomization is school. There are 298 teachers from 84 elementary schools recruited for the study. We assigned 43 schools to treatment and 41 schools to control. We stratified randomization on district within the province of Adana.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office by a computer using Stata software
Randomization Unit
school
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
84 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
The sample includes a total of 9097 officially registered students (baseline).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We assigned 43 schools to treatment and 41 schools to control. We stratified randomization on district within the province of Adana.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We plan to append our main trial data with these data and improve the power of the first trial. The first trial includes 77 schools. With the addition of 84 schools, we will have total 161 schools. Our power calculations based on 161 schools and mean cluster size of 92 are as follows (implied percentage change in main outcomes): curiosity task: 8.6% Retention test score: 5.0% Science test score: 6.67% Math test score: 7.79% Verbal test score: 8.34% Ambiguity aversion: 8.87% Risk aversion: 8.14%
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Essex Ethics Board
IRB Approval Date
2018-09-14
IRB Approval Number
IRB00000522