Risk taking: Theoretical, empirical, and educational considerations

  • Margaret M. Clifford

Abstract

Selected findings on risk taking derived from theories of economics and psychology and thought to be relevant to education are presented. The theoretical benefits associated with moderate (.50 probability of success) levels of risk taking, as well as the potential problems associated with the use of risk-taking activities as means of enhancing student learning and motivation, are discussed. A program of research designed to identify the determinants and effects of academic risk taking (i.e., selection of school-relevant tasks varying in difficulty) among children and adults is reviewed. Although students admitted having low tolerance for error making and failure, initial results indicate that (a) they could be encouraged to take moderate academic risks, (b) they were interested in academic risk-taking tasks, and (c) risk-taking tasks facilitated learning and appeared to elicit increased effort expenditure. Suggestions for further theory- and field-based research in academic risk: taking are offered, including the study of relations between academic risk-taking variables and motivation, information-processing, cognitive development, measurement, and curriculum development variables.

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Published
2021-10-30
How to Cite
Clifford, M. (2021). Risk taking: Theoretical, empirical, and educational considerations. Educational Review: International Journal, 18(1), 46-58. Retrieved from https://fssh-journal.org/index.php/es/article/view/211