How a Data-Driven Course Planning Tool Affects College Students' GPA: Evidence from Two Field Experiments

Learning at Scale (L@S), 2018

10 Pages Posted: 2 May 2018 Last revised: 13 Jul 2018

See all articles by Sorathan Chaturapruek

Sorathan Chaturapruek

Stanford University

Thomas Dee

Stanford University

Ramesh Johari

Stanford University

René Kizilcec

Cornell University

Mitchell Stevens

Stanford University - School of Education

Date Written: April 13, 2018

Abstract

College students rely on increasingly data-rich environments when making learning-relevant decisions about the courses they take and their expected time commitments. However, we know little about how their exposure to such data may influence student course choice, effort regulation, and performance. We conducted a large-scale field experiment in which all the undergraduates at a large, selective university were randomized to an encouragement to use a course-planning web application that integrates information from official transcripts from the past fifteen years with detailed end-of-course evaluation surveys. We found that use of the platform lowered students' GPA by 0.28 standard deviations on average. In a subsequent field experiment, we varied access to information about course grades and time commitment on the platform and found that access to grade information in particular lowered students' overall GPA. Our exploratory analysis suggests these effects are not due to changes in the portfolio of courses that students choose, but rather by changes to their behavior within courses.

Keywords: information platform, higher education, dashboard, randomized field experiment, GPA

Suggested Citation

Chaturapruek, Sorathan and Dee, Thomas and Johari, Ramesh and Kizilcec, René and Stevens, Mitchell, How a Data-Driven Course Planning Tool Affects College Students' GPA: Evidence from Two Field Experiments (April 13, 2018). Learning at Scale (L@S), 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3162443

Sorathan Chaturapruek (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Thomas Dee

Stanford University ( email )

Ramesh Johari

Stanford University ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States

René Kizilcec

Cornell University ( email )

208 Gates Hall
107 Hoy Rd
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Mitchell Stevens

Stanford University - School of Education ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-3096
United States

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