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How Much is That Exam Grade Really Worth? An Estimation of Student Risk Aversion to Their Unknown Final College Course Grades

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  • Lanier Nalley
  • Andrew McKenzie
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    Abstract

    This study created an experimental design with which students can empirically assess their risk behavior with respect to exam grades within an expected utility framework. Specifically, the authors analyzed students’ risk preferences associated with taking exams and earning a “risky” unknown grade versus not taking exams and instead obtaining a “sure” grade. Students have grade-choice decisions in nonhypothetical situations that impact their actual exam grades. Estimates indicate that the more risk-averse a student is, the more willing he or she is to accept a lower certain grade and not take an exam than to run the risk of actually taking it. We believe that this experimental setup and its binding results make it an easy but effective way of teaching the obtuse concept of risk aversion.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00220485.2011.606085
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Journal of Economic Education.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 338-353

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:42:y:2011:i:4:p:338-353

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