How Do Peers Impact Learning? An Experimental Investigation of Peer-to-Peer Teaching and Ability Tracking

Journal of Human Resources, Forthcoming

95 Pages Posted: 18 May 2017 Last revised: 1 Dec 2019

See all articles by Erik O. Kimbrough

Erik O. Kimbrough

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Andrew McGee

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Hitoshi Shigeoka

Simon Fraser University (SFU); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 29, 2017

Abstract

Classroom peers presumably influence learning by teaching each other. Unfortunately, little is known about peer-to-peer teaching because it is never observed in field studies. The efficacy of this teaching likely depends on the ability of one’s peers. We investigate the mechanisms of peer effects experimentally to establish the importance of peer-to-peer teaching and how it is affected by ability tracking—grouping students of similar ability. While peer-to-peer teaching improves learning among low-ability subjects, the positive effects are offset by tracking. Tracking reduces peer-to-peer teaching, suggesting that low-ability subjects suffer from the absence of high-ability peers to teach them.

Keywords: Peer-to-peer Teaching, Ability Tracking, Peer Effects, Group Composition, Education and Inequality, Laboratory Experiment

JEL Classification: I24, C91, I28

Suggested Citation

Kimbrough, Erik O. and McGee, Andrew and Shigeoka, Hitoshi, How Do Peers Impact Learning? An Experimental Investigation of Peer-to-Peer Teaching and Ability Tracking (November 29, 2017). Journal of Human Resources, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2969133 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2969133

Erik O. Kimbrough

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Dr
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Andrew McGee

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Hitoshi Shigeoka (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada
(778)782-5348 (Phone)
(778)782-5348 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/hshigeoka/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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