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Bias from the use of mean-based methods on test scores

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  • Koerselman, Kristian

    ()
    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

Abstract

Economists regularly regress IQ scores or achievement test scores on covariates, for example to evaluate educational policy. These test scores are ordinal measures, and their distributions can take an arbitrary shape, even though they are often constructed to look normal. The ordinality of test scores makes the use of mean-based methods such as OLS is inappropriate: estimates are not robust to changes in test score estimation assumptions and methods. I simulate the magnitude of robustness problems, and show that in practice, problems with mean-based regression of normally distributed test scores are small. Even so, test score distributions with more exotic shapes will need to be transformed before use.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 1/2011.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 03 Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2011_001

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Related research

Keywords: dmissible statistics; test scores; educational achievement; item response theory; IQ; PISA.;

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References

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  1. Fernando Galindo-Rueda, 2003. "Employer Learning and Schooling-Related Statistical Discrimination in Britain," CEE Discussion Papers 0031, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1415, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
  4. Fabian Lange, 2007. "The Speed of Employer Learning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 1-35.
  5. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Peer Effects and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 7043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope & Kerr, Sari, 2009. "School tracking and development of cognitive skills," Working Paper Series 2009:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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Cited by:
  1. Koerselman, Kristian, 2013. "Incentives from curriculum tracking," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 140-150.
  2. Koerselman, Kristian, 2011. "Incentives from Curriculum Tracking: Cross-national and UK Evidence," Working Paper Series 3/2011, Swedish Institute for Social Research.

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