NEWLY PUBLISHED: Understanding the Response to Financial and Non-Financial Incentives in Education: Field Experimental Evidence Using High-Stakes Assessments.

Can incentives for high school students work?


Want more detail? Read on …

The paper is out now:

Joint with Sally Sadoff and Rob Metcalfe.

The original large-scale RCT generously funded by @EducEndowFoundn
Key design feature: We incentivize pupil inputs not outputs, that is, behaviours not grades.

Who will this affect?
Students already working hard – likely not much. But for other students, this might encourage greater effort.

Our field experiment implemented in high schools in England, in the final year of compulsory schooling.
The experiment included over 10,000 students in 63 high schools across England.
The outcome measures were (high-stakes) tests in English, Maths and Science (GCSEs).

Average impact is positive, but small and insignificant.

We study the distribution of treatment effects: half of the students have economically meaningful positiv effects.

For these, GCSE scores improve by 10% - 20% SD; the chance of hitting 5A*C increases by 8 ppt.
How do we identify these highly affected groups?

Simple subgroup analysis.

Also machine learning techniques to guard against researcher discretion: well-established approaches and the more recent Random Causal Forest methods. They all point the same way.

The “right tail” of highly-responsive students is well proxied by characteristic: disadvantaged students who are native English speakers.

Students who have English as an additional language score highly at GCSE and are largely unaffected by the incentives.

The students predicted to be most responsive to both financial and non-financial incentives in maths are those with lower performance at baseline.

Our results suggest that incentives could close achievement gaps among these students by about half.

We discuss feasible and acceptable implementation of these policies in the paper.

While it is not nudge-like cheap, the fact that it was particularly effective with low-performing, hard-to-reach groups of students makes it worth considering.


• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Simon Burgess

Simon Burgess Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @profsimonb

22 Jan
NEW: Blog post: What can we learn about Covid transmission in schools from teacher absence figures?

With Dave Thomson @FFTEduDatalab…

We look at teacher absence by COVID-related reason over last half term

Most interesting difference is that rate of teachers told to isolate by school because of contact in school is much higher in primary schools than secondary

While infection higher in sec’y school, lost learning per infection likely higher in prim’y

Teacher absence in secondary as likely to be due to contact outside school as inside school.

The dangers to teachers’ health are not only, perhaps not even mainly, to be found within schools.

Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!