Goal Setting and Raising the Bar: A Field Experiment

Max van Lent, Michiel Souverijn
2016 Social Science Research Network  
We study goal setting using a randomized ...eld experiment involving 1092 ...rst-year undergraduate students. Students have private mentorstudent meetings during the year. We instructed a random subset of mentors to encourage students to set a course-speci...c grade goal during one of the mentor-student meetings (goal treatment). A random subset of those mentors was further instructed to challenge students to set more ambitious goals if deemed appropriate (raise treatment). We ...nd that
more » ... e ...nd that students in the goal treatment perform signi...cantly better as compared to students in the control group, and more so when they performed poorly prior to the experiment. Next, we ...nd that students in the raise treatment do not perform signi...cantly di¤erent from the control group. Finally, students who set a goal and are challenged to set a more ambitious goal perform signi...cantly worse than comparable students in the goal treatment.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2898916 fatcat:avj36qczjfbe7jajolj3gdx77a