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When Goal-Setting Forges Ahead but Stops Short

Asad Islam (), Sungoh Kwon (), Eema Masood (), Nishith Prakash (), Shwetlena Sabarwal () and Deepak Saraswat ()
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Sungoh Kwon: University of Connecticut
Eema Masood: World Bank
Nishith Prakash: University of Connecticut
Shwetlena Sabarwal: World Bank
Deepak Saraswat: University of Connecticut

No 13188, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: In this study, we use at scale randomized control trial among 18,000 secondary students in 181 schools in Tanzania (Zanzibar) to examine the effects of personal best goal-settings on students' academic performance. We also offer non-financial rewards to students to meet the goals they set. We find that goal-setting has a significant positive impact on student time use, study effort, and self-discipline. However, we do not find any significant impact of goalsetting on test scores. We find that, this could be partially because about 2/3rd of students do not set realistic goals. Third, we find weaker results on time use, study effort, and discipline when we combine goal-setting with non-financial rewards, suggesting that typing goal-setting to extrinsic incentives could weaken its impact. We also find that female students improved on outcomes much more than male students and that students coming from relatively weaker socio-economic backgrounds improved more than their counterparts.

Keywords: goal-setting; recognition rewards; student performance; Zanzibar (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D9 I20 I25 O15 O55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 65 pages
Date: 2020-04
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