Reflective Goal-Setting Improves Academic Performance in Teacher and Business Education: A Large-Scale Field Experiment

46 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2021

See all articles by Izaak Dekker

Izaak Dekker

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Michaéla Schippers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management

Erik Van Schooten

University of Amsterdam

Date Written: February 3, 2021

Abstract

Students often have trouble adjusting to higher education and this affects their performance, retention, and well-being. Scholars have suggested applying reflective goal-setting interventions, and most have found positive effects on academic performance and retention. However, one study found no effect at all, stressing the need for understanding the underlying mechanisms, as they could explain when the intervention works and why. Thus, we assessed these mechanisms through a rigorous effect test, using an experimental design and repeated measures. We measured engagement, self-regulated learning, resilience, grit, wellbeing, academic performance, and retention at three points in a large scale randomized controlled trial involving first-year teacher and business education students (N = 1,134). The treatment group earned significantly more course credits and had lower drop out rates. Contrary to previous findings, these effects were independent of gender or ethnicity. Grit, self-regulated learning, resilience, or engagement did not mediate the effects. This study confirmed reflective goal-setting’s small and direct effect on academic performance, but no mediating or moderating effects. Differences in implementation fidelity could explain previous studies’ varying effect-sizes.

Keywords: academic performance, academic achievement, goal setting, well-being, intervention, field experiment, self-regulated learning, engagement

Suggested Citation

Dekker, Izaak and Schippers, Michaela and Van Schooten, Erik, Reflective Goal-Setting Improves Academic Performance in Teacher and Business Education: A Large-Scale Field Experiment (February 3, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3778544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3778544

Izaak Dekker (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Michaela Schippers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Erik Van Schooten

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

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