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Frequency Of Examinations And Student Achievement In A Randomized Experiment

  • Maria De Poala


  • Vincenzo Scoppa


    (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

We carry out a randomized experiment involving undergraduate students enrolled at an Italian University attending an introductory economics class 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. It emerges that students undertaking the intermediate exam perform better both in terms of 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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Paper provided by Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica) in its series Working Papers with number 201019.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201019
Contact details of provider: Postal: Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza, Ponte Pietro Bucci, Cubo 0/C, I-87036 Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy
Phone: +39 0984 492413
Fax: +39 0984 492421
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  1. 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.
  2. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  3. Masaki Aoyagi, 2003. "Information Feedback in a Dynamic Tournament," ISER Discussion Paper 0580, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  4. Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Contests with multiple rounds," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 213-227, April.
  5. 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.
  6. Tor Eriksson & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives : Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 0812, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  7. Guido Schwerdt & Amelie C. Wuppermann, 2009. "Is Traditional Teaching really all that Bad? A Within-Student Between-Subject Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 2634, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. 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.
  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. Florian Ederer, 2010. "Feedback and Motivation in Dynamic Tournaments," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 733-769, 09.
  11. 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.
  12. Richard B. Freeman & Alexander M. Gelber, 2010. "Prize Structure and Information in Tournaments: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 149-64, January.
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