Peer Effects in Computer Assisted Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

40 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2017

See all articles by Marcel Fafchamps

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Di Mo

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS); KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS)

Date Written: February 2017

Abstract

We conduct a large scale RCT to investigate peer effects in computer assisted learning (CAL). Identification of peer effects relies on three levels of randomization. It is already known that CAL improves math test scores in Chinese rural schools. We find that paired treatment improves the beneficial effects of treatment for poor performers when they are paired with high performers. We test whether CAL treatment reduces the dispersion in math scores relative to controls, and we find statistically significant evidence that it does. We also demonstrate that the beneficial effects of CAL could potentially be strengthened, both in terms of average effect and in terms of reduced dispersion, if weak students are systematically paired with strong students during treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a school intervention has been identified in which peer effects unambiguously help weak students catch up with the rest of the class without imposing any learning cost on other students.

Suggested Citation

Fafchamps, Marcel and Mo, Di, Peer Effects in Computer Assisted Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment (February 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23195, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2924285

Marcel Fafchamps (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Di Mo

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS) ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS) ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

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