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The effect of student-led conferences on academic achievement. An experiment in Dutch secondary education.

Maartje van der Eem and Carla Haelermans


This article explores the effect of student-led conferences on academic results, using a randomized field experiment. The sample consists of 130 grade 10 students in Dutch secondary education. All students in the sample had two conferences during one school year, where they discussed their academic progress and study behaviour with their tutor and parents. Students in the treatment group prepared their own conference and took the lead during the conference. Students in the control group had teacher-led conferences. The results show that student-led conferences lead to a significant increase of the overall average grade and of the average math grade. However, no results were found for language. The results on the overall average grade seem to be driven by the significant results for math, which can be explained by the fact that this subject requires lots of practice, which many students set as a goal during student-led conferences. Analyses on differential groups show that boys and low performing students benefit more from the treatment than girls and middle- and high performing students.

Keywords: student-led conference, academic achievement, randomized field experiment, secondary education.
JEL: C93, I21.


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