Did It Work #2

Many folks are working on how to help more collegians graduate, particularly if they’re first-in-family to attend.  That’s why I found this randomized trial interesting.  It’s for first year college students.  The average GPA is 1.8 for the control group.  The research team tried 3 interventions:

a. Advice.

Peer advisors who email the freshmen regularly, have in person meetings, offer advice for coping and academics, etc.  The advisors receive training and a clearly-defined protocol of what to do.

b. Incentives.

Incentives for getting higher GPA than whatever you had before.  Each student is offered a $1000 bonus to hit a modest gain, and a $5,000 bonus to hit a stretch goal.

For example, a kid who has a 1.7 GPA, or a “C-” after one semester) would get $1,000 if he got a “B-” next time around.  And $5,000 if he got a  B+.

c. Combo platter.  These students got both advisors and incentives.

Which interventions do you think showed a statistically significant increase in college GPA, if any?

(Answer to yesterday’s Q in the comments).

– Guestblogger GGW

3 Replies to “Did It Work #2”

  1. Another slam dunk for the playground legend: c), the combo, with an effect size of .19

  2. Lamar, you’re pretty good. Still shooting that turnaround jumper?

    The combo version did have a measurable effect, moving a GPA of 1.8 to about 2.0.

    The other stuff generally didn’t, although there are some interesting variations by gender. Good paper.

    Josh Angrist et al:


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