Unskilled and unaware in the classroom: College students’ desired grades predict their biased grade predictions

Michael Serra, Kenneth DeMarree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

People tend to be overconfident when predicting their performance on a variety of physical and mental tasks (i.e., they predict they will perform better than they actually do). Such a pattern is commonly found in educational settings, in which many students greatly overestimate how well they will perform on exams. In particular, the lowest-performing students tend to show the greatest overconfidence (i.e., the “unskilled-and-unaware” effect). Such overconfidence can have deleterious effects on the efficacy of students’ short-term study behaviors (i.e., underpreparing for exams) and long-term academic decisions (i.e., changing one’s academic major to an “easier” topic or dropping out of school completely). To help understand why students’ grade predictions are often overconfident, we examined the hypothesis that students’ grade predictions are biased by their desired levels of performance, which are often much higher than their actual levels of performance. Across three studies in whic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1137
JournalMemory & Cognition
StatePublished - Oct 2016

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