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This paper examines whether social stigma or peer sanctions
associated with academic achievement or effort adversely affects
girls' school performance (in absolute terms, or relative to boys).
The effects of the introduction of a point system and "leaderboard"
into computer-based math and English courses in high schools in
California revealed previously hidden information, namely who the
top performers were in the class. This study finds that the system
led to a very large decline in performance for students who were at
the top of the class prior to introduction (those most "at risk" of
being in the leaderboard), and a smaller increase in performance
for students at the bottom of the class. Despite results from
previous studies on stigma and performance, this study finds no
differences in these effects between boys and girls in either
English or math. The net effect of the point system and leaderboard
worsen overall performance.
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