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Goal Setting and Raising the Bar: A Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Max van Lent

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Michiel Souverijn

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Abstract

We study goal setting using a randomized field experiment involving 1092 first-year undergraduate students. Students have private mentor-student meetings during the year. We instructed a random subset of mentors to encourage students to set a course-specific grade goal during one of the mentor-student meetings (goal treatment). A random subset of those mentors was further instructed to challenge students to set more ambitious goals if deemed appropriate (raise treatment). We find that students in the goal treatment perform significantly better as compared to students in the control group, and more so when they performed poorly prior to the experiment. Next, we find that students in the raise treatment do not perform significantly different from the control group. Finally, students who set a goal and are challenged to set a more ambitious goal perform significantly worse than comparable students in the goal treatment.

Suggested Citation

  • Max van Lent & Michiel Souverijn, 2017. "Goal Setting and Raising the Bar: A Field Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-001/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20170001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Goal setting; motivation; education; field experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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