'Making it count': incentives, student effort and performance

Chevalier, Arnaud, Dolton, Peter and Lührmann, Melanie (2017) 'Making it count': incentives, student effort and performance. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A. ISSN 0964-1998

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Abstract

This paper examines how incentives to participate in online assessments (quizzes) affect students’ effort and performance. Our identification strategy exploits within-student weekly variation in incentives to attempt online quizzes. We find tournament incentives and participation incentives to be ineffective in increasing quiz participation. In contrast, making the quiz counts towards the final grade substantially increases participation. We find no evidence of displacement of effort between weeks. Using a natural experiment which provides variation in assessment weighting of the quizzes between two cohorts, we find that affected students obtain better exam grades. We estimate the return to 10% assessment weighting to be around 0.27 of a standard deviation in the in-term exam grade. We find no evidence that assessment weighting has unintended consequences, i.e., that increased quiz effort: displaces effort over the year; reduces other forms of effort; or reduces (effort and thus) performance in other courses. Finally, assessment weighting induced effort increases most for students at and below median ability, resulting in a reduction of the grade gap by 17%.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Joy Blake
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2017 10:12
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 09:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67391

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