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Frequency of examinations and student achievement in a randomized experiment

  • De Paola, Maria
  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

We carry out a randomized experiment involving undergraduate students enrolled at an Italian University attending two introductory economics classes to evaluate the impact on achievement of examination frequency and interim feedback provision. Students in the treated group were allowed to undertake an intermediate exam and were informed about the results obtained, while students in the control group could only take the final exam. The results show that students undertaking the intermediate exam perform better both in terms of the probability of passing the exams and of grades obtained. High ability students appear to benefit more from the treatment. The experiment design allows us to disentangle “workload division or commitment” effects from “feedback provision” effects. We find that the estimated treatment impact is due exclusively to the first effect, while the feedback provision has no positive effect on performance. Finally, the better performance of treated students in targeted examinations seems not to be obtained at the expenses of results earned in other examinations.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1416-1429

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:1416-1429
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Contests with multiple rounds," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 213-227, April.
  2. Schacter, John & Thum, Yeow Meng, 2004. "Paying for high- and low-quality teaching," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 411-430, August.
  3. Ghazala Azmat & Nagore Iriberri, 2009. "The importance of relative performance feedback information: Evidence from a natural experiment using high school students," Economics Working Papers 1148, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2010.
  4. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  5. Tor Eriksson & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00451557, HAL.
  6. Freeman, Richard B. & Gelber, Alexander M., 2008. "Prize Structure and Information in Tournaments: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 12156, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Aoyagi, Masaki, 2010. "Information feedback in a dynamic tournament," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 242-260, November.
  8. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
  9. Motty Perry & Philip J. Reny, 1999. "On The Failure of the Linkage Principle in Multi-Unit Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 895-900, July.
  10. Burger, Nicholas & Charness, Gary & Lynham, John, 2011. "Field and online experiments on self-control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 393-404, March.
  11. Florian Ederer, 2010. "Feedback and Motivation in Dynamic Tournaments," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 733-769, 09.
  12. Schwerdt, Guido & Wuppermann, Amelie C., 2011. "Is traditional teaching really all that bad? A within-student between-subject approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 365-379, April.
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