Goal Setting, Academic Reminders, and College Success: A Large-Scale Field Experiment

41 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017

See all articles by Christopher Dobronyi

Christopher Dobronyi

University of Toronto

Philip Oreopoulos

University of Toronto - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Uros Petronijevic

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2017

Abstract

This paper presents an independent large-scale experimental evaluation of two online goal-setting interventions. Both interventions are based on promising findings from the field of social psychology. Approximately 1,400 first-year undergraduate students at a large Canadian university were randomly assigned to complete one of two online goal-setting treatments or a control task. Additionally, half of treated participants also were offered the opportunity to receive follow-up goal-oriented reminders through e-mail or text messages in an attempt to test a cost-effective method for increasing the saliency of treatment. Across all treatment groups, we observe no evidence of an effect on GPA, course credits, or second year persistence. Our estimates are precise enough to discern a seven percent standardized performance effect at a five percent significance level. Our results hold by subsample, for various outcome variables, and across a number of specifications.

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Suggested Citation

Dobronyi, Christopher and Oreopoulos, Philip and Petronijevic, Uros, Goal Setting, Academic Reminders, and College Success: A Large-Scale Field Experiment (August 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23738. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3027842

Christopher Dobronyi (Contact Author)

University of Toronto

Toronto, M5S 3G8
Canada

Philip Oreopoulos

University of Toronto - Department of Economics ( email )

150 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G7
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Uros Petronijevic

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

19 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

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