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Motivating Low-Achievers—Relative Performance Feedback in Primary Schools

Author

Listed:
  • Henning Hermes

    (NHH Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Martin Huschens

    (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

  • Franz Rothlauf

    (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

  • Daniel Schunk

    (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Abstract

Relative performance feedback ( RPF ) has often been shown to improve effort and performance in the workplace and educational settings. Yet, many studies also document substantial negative effects of RPF, in particular for low-achievers. We study a novel type of RPF designed to overcome these negative effects of RPF on low-achievers by scoring individual performance improvements. With a sample of about 400 children, we conduct a class-wise randomized-controlled trial in regular teaching lessons in primary schools. We demonstrate that this type of RPF significantly increases motivation, effort, and performance in math for low-achieving children, without hurting high-achieving children. Among low-achievers, those receiving more points and moving up in the ranking improved strongest on motivation and math performance. In addition, we document substantial gender differences in response to this type of RPF: improvements in motivation and learning are much stronger for girls. We argue that using this novel type of RPF could potentially reduce inequalities, especially in educational settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Henning Hermes & Martin Huschens & Franz Rothlauf & Daniel Schunk, 2019. "Motivating Low-Achievers—Relative Performance Feedback in Primary Schools," Working Papers 1908, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
  • Handle: RePEc:jgu:wpaper:1908
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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Lackner & Michael Weichselbaumer, 2021. "Can barely winning lead to losing? Evidence for a substantial gender gap in psychological momentum," Economics working papers 2021-19, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Kerstin Grosch & Simone Haeckl & Martin G. Kocher, 2022. "Closing the gender STEM gap - A large-scale randomized-controlled trial in elementary schools," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp329, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    3. Tim Klausmann, 2021. "Feedback in Homogeneous Ability Groups: A Field Experiment," Working Papers 2114, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    4. Lackner, Mario & Weichselbaumer, Michael, 2023. "Can barely winning lead to losing? Gender and past performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 208(C), pages 258-274.
    5. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Post-Print halshs-02909726, HAL.
    6. Klausmann, Tim & Wagner, Valentin & Zipperle, Isabell, 2021. "Rank response functions in an online learning environment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 209(C).
    7. ISOZUMI Koji & ITO Hirotake & NAKAMURO Makiko & YAMAGUCHI Shintaro, 2021. "Is Entering a Selective School the Ultimate Goal or Just a Start? The Effect of Ordinal Rank on Academic Achievement and College Quality in a Selective Secondary School," Discussion papers 21086, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    8. Raphael Brade & Oliver Himmler & Robert Jaeckle, 2023. "Relative Performance Feedback and Long-Term Tasks – Experimental Evidence from Higher Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 10346, CESifo.
    9. Gwen-Jiro Clochard & Guillaume Hollard & Julia Wirtz, 2022. "More effort or better technologies? On the effect of relative performance feedback," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 22/767, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    10. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Working Papers 2009, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    11. Shen, Kailing, 2021. "Gender Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 14897, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Working Papers halshs-02488913, HAL.
    13. Grosch, Kerstin & Häckl, Simone & Kocher, Martin G., 2022. "Closing the gender STEM gap," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 329, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    relative performance feedback; rankings; randomized-controlled trial; education; gender differences; inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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