ERIC Number: EJ1179472
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Risky Prospects and Risk Aversion Tendencies: Does Competition in the Classroom Depend on Grading Practices and Knowledge of Peer-Status?
Burleigh, Tyler J.; Meegan, Daniel V.
Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, v21 n2 p323-335 Apr 2018
When students are faced with the decision of whether to assist a peer, they should be sensitive to the potential risks associated with doing so. Two factors associated with risky helping behaviour in the classroom are: (1) the grading practices that are used, and (2) knowledge of a peer's relative status. Normative ("curved") grading creates a situation in which peer-interactions are potentially competitive, but it is only those interactions with peers of a similar status that carry the potential for assistance to be costly to oneself. In two studies, we created hypothetical scenarios in which the grading practices (normative or absolute) and peer-status proximity (proximate, distant, or unknown) were manipulated, and asked participants to report their willingness to cooperate with a peer by sharing their notes from an important lecture. We found that when normative grading was used, individuals were less willing to assist a peer when they knew that the peer's status was proximate to their own. There was also less cooperation when peer status was "unknown", under normative grading, which is consistent with a risk-aversion tendency.
Descriptors: Risk, Grading, Peer Relationship, Competition, Decision Making, Helping Relationship, Notetaking, Vignettes, Student Attitudes, Lecture Method, Student Behavior
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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