Can Incentives Mitigate Student Overconfidence at Grade Forecasts?



Date of this version


Document Type



Student overconfidence Grade forecasts Effortful thinking Incentives


Research shows that college students exhibit bias in their forecasts of exam performance. Most students are overconfident in their forecasts, academically weaker students are the most overconfident, and top-performing students are underconfident. The literature identifies negative repercussions of these biases, including inadequate preparation for exams. A recurring attribute of this literature is the absence of meaningful incentives for students to forecast accurately. We implement an extra credit scheme to incentivize accurate forecasts. Depending on how forecast bias is measured, the scheme mitigates bias by top-performing students and marginally mitigates bias by other students. Our results have several implications. First, we illustrate an extra credit tool instructors can use to incentivize students to make more thoughtful assessments of their future exam performance. Second, we show how the association between incentives and forecast bias differs across student groups. Finally, we show that results in this literature are sensitive to how bias is measured.

Published in

Accounting Education: A Journal of Theory, Practice and Research

Citation/Other Information

27(1), 27-47