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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Villeval, Marie Claire, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," GLO Discussion Paper Series 482, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. 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.
    3. Marie Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Working Papers halshs-02488913, HAL.

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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:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General

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