Teachers' Beliefs about Education Production

Last registered on July 28, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Teachers' Beliefs about Education Production
Initial registration date
July 27, 2022

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
July 28, 2022, 3:02 PM EDT

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

Last updated
July 28, 2023, 4:00 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Teachers College Columbia University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Teachers in developing countries are routinely faced with multiple external constraints at work. They teach classrooms in resource-poor settings where the majority of students are first-generation learners with cumulative learning deficits. The presence of many potentially binding external constraints might suggest to teachers that their effort matters little in influencing student learning, leading to a perception of low returns to effort. These beliefs may predispose teachers to lower levels of perceived control over education production, translating into low levels of classroom effort, especially for lower-performing students in the classroom. I conduct an experimental evaluation of a psychosocial intervention that targets teachers’ beliefs about perceived returns to effort and study the extent to which it shifts teacher beliefs, affects teacher effort and student learning. I devise a novel experimental task to elicit teachers’ perceived control beliefs about improving performance of students in the bottom tail of ability distribution
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Kaur, Jalnidh. 2023. "Teachers' Beliefs about Education Production." AEA RCT Registry. July 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9803-2.3
Sponsors & Partners


Experimental Details


Teachers are exposed to a psychosocial intervention that targets teachers’ beliefs about perceived returns to effort. The intervention is medium-touch in nature, and delivered over ten sessions delivered over 5 weeks. The training content comprises of tools from positive psychology that aim to build psychological resources through actionable strategies. The sessions will be conducted remotely and delivered through an interactive format involving a combination of instruction and discussion-based activities. The dosage will be two one-hour sessions per week, with a weekly assignment to reinforce concepts. Teachers in the placebo arm will gather together as a group to receive a training of similar duration and format but will discuss psychologically inactive topics unrelated to personal development.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
(1) Psychological outcomes:
(a) teachers' beliefs about perceived control captured through a real-stakes experimental task using multiple price list,
(b & c) locus of control and generalized self-efficacy, captured through standard psychological scales

(2) Teachers' effort captured through:
(a) attendance, and
(b) classroom observations and review of homework notebooks of students

(3) Student learning in Math, captured through scores on centrally conducted mid-year and end-of-year exams.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
I plan to elicit beliefs through three main approaches: (1) A set of survey questions involving hypothetical scenarios, (2) A real-stakes incentivized experimental task, and (3) standard psychological scales. Psychological outcomes and classroom observation outcomes will be analyzed both question-by-question and in aggregated indices. Each index will aggregate responses to questions designed to measure the same underlying construct. For the real-stakes experimental task, I will use the switching point as my key outcome that elicits teachers’ beliefs about their perceived control over education production for lower-performing students in their classroom. The distribution of switching points in the multiple price list task will be compared across treatment and control groups, and the change will be examined relative to baseline choice.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Teachers' time-use, mental health, and expectation of their students
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
I work with 83 schools of a large rural school chain in northern India. The study sample will consist of teachers and students in grades 2, 4, 6, and 8 in these 83 schools, comprising 292 teachers and their students. I consider non-adjacent grades within each school to avoid the possibility of spillovers across adjacent grades, and conduct pairwise randomization across all possible grade pairings within schools. All teachers in the study sample will be observed at baseline and administered a survey module that elicits beliefs about perceived role in education production. Teachers will then be randomized to receive treatment or placebo training for a period of 5 weeks. At the end of the training, surveyors will administer Endline 1 survey. Two additional rounds of endline will be conducted after 3, and 6 months of intervention.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done in office using a computer code.
Randomization Unit
Randomization is at the school-by-grade level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
292 school-grades spanning 83 schools, with 4 grades per school.
Sample size: planned number of observations
292 teachers and 5,000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
146 teachers (school-grades) in the treatment group and 146 teachers (school-grades) in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Accounting for baseline measurement of outcomes, the projected correlation between the baseline and endline measures, and the sample size, the study is powered to detect a minimum detectable effect (MDE) of 0.125σ on student achievement, 0.29σ on teacher effort and 0.27σ on teacher beliefs (alpha = 0. 5, power = 80%).

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Teachers College, Columbia University
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