Thompson Rivers University

Are students grade expectations rational? A Classroom Experiment

September 29, 2012

Don't forget to check your grades

Dr. Belayet Hossain and I have received news that our paper on grade expectations has been accepted for publication in Education Economics. In this study we explore students’ expectations about their final grade. We attempt to determine whether students form expectations rationally using all available information. Expectations in economics, rational or otherwise, carry valuable information and have important implications in terms of both teaching effectiveness and the role of grades as an incentive structure for students. Our findings indicate that on average, the rational expectations framework does not accurately describe students’ grade expectations. Expectations, although sluggish, improve as students gather information on their actual performance during the semester. Even though overconfidence is the norm, there could be some students who follow closely the rational expectations hypothesis. To the extend that overconfidence leads to less study time, then bringing expectations down early in the term can improve study time and students’ grades. This can be done by having early in the semester challenging assessments.

Related Posts