Ever Failed, Try Again, Succeed Better: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention on Grit

HCEO Working Paper

51 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2016

See all articles by Sule Alan

Sule Alan

European University Institute; Bilkent University; J-PAL

Teodora Boneva

University College London - Department of Economics

Seda Ertac

Koc University

Date Written: March 9, 2016

Abstract

We show that grit, a non-cognitive skill that has been shown to be highly predictive of achievement, is malleable in the childhood period and can be fostered in the classroom environment. Our evidence comes from the evaluation of a randomized educational intervention implemented in two independent elementary school samples in Istanbul. Outcomes are measured via a novel incentivized real effort task and performance in standardized tests. We find that treated students are 1) more likely to choose to undertake a more challenging and more rewarding task against an easier but less rewarding alternative, 2) less likely to give up after failure, 3) more likely to exert effort to accumulate task-specific ability, and consequently, 4) more likely to succeed and collect higher payoffs. The intervention also has a large positive impact on students’ standardized test scores. Treated students score 0.28 standard deviations higher in a standardized math test, and 0.13 standard deviations higher in a standardized Turkish test at follow-up.

Keywords: non-cognitive skills, grit, perseverance, field experiments, randomized interventions

JEL Classification: C91, C93, D03, I28

Suggested Citation

Alan, Sule and Boneva, Teodora and Ertac, Seda, Ever Failed, Try Again, Succeed Better: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention on Grit (March 9, 2016). HCEO Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2761390 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2761390

Sule Alan (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Villa San Paolo
Via della Piazzuola 43
50133 Florence
Italy

Bilkent University ( email )

Turkey

J-PAL ( email )

30 Wadsworth Street, E53-320
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Teodora Boneva

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

Seda Ertac

Koc University ( email )

Rumelifeneri Yolu
34450 Sar?yer
Istanbul, 34450
Turkey

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