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
Date Written: November 29, 2017
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: Suggested Citation