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Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection

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  • Eduardo Andrade
  • Luciano De Castro
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    Abstract

    A parallel of education with transformative processes in standard markets suggest that a more severe control of the quality of the output will improve the overall quality of the education. This paper shows a somehow counterintuitive result: an increase in the exam difficulty may reduce the average quality (productivity) of selected individuals. Since the exam does not verify all skills, when its standard rises, candidates with relatively low skills emphasized in the test and high skills demanded in the job may no longer qualify. Hence, an increase in the testing standard may be counterproductive. One implication is that policies should emphasize alignment between the skills tested and those required in the actual jobs, rather than increase exams' difficulties.

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    File URL: http://kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/decastro/htm/personal/education.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1533.

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    Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1533

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    Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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    Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/
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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Betts, Julian R, 1998. "The Impact of Educational Standards on the Level and Distribution of Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 266-75, March.
    2. Costrell, Robert M, 1994. "A Simple Model of Educational Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 956-71, September.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & Jonathan Guryan, 2003. "Does Teacher Testing Raise Teacher Quality? Evidence from State Certification Requirements," NBER Working Papers 9545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Paul A. LaFontaine & Pedro L. Rodriguez, 2008. "Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out," NBER Working Papers 14044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. De Fraja, Gianni & Oliveira, Tania & Zanchi, Luisa, 2005. "Must Try Harder. Evaluating the Role of Effort in Educational Attainment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5048, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Investment, Moral Hazard, and Occupational Licensing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 843-62, October.
    9. Gottlieb, Daniel & Moreira, Humberto Ataíde & Araújo, Aloísio Pessoa de, 2004. "A model of mixed signals with applications to countersignaling an the GED," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 553, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    10. Daniel M. Koretz, 2002. "Limitations in the Use of Achievement Tests as Measures of Educators' Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 752-777.
    11. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
    12. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
    13. Morris M. Kleiner, 2000. "Occupational Licensing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 189-202, Fall.
    14. Klein, Roger & Spady, Richard & Weiss, Andrew, 1991. "Factors Affecting the Output and Quit Propensities of Production Workers," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 929-53, October.
    15. Derek Neal, 2002. "How Vouchers Could Change the Market for Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 25-44, Fall.
    16. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. De Fraja, Gianni & Romano, Richard E, 2002. "The Economics of Education: Editors Introduction," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 205-08, July.
    18. Thomas S. Dee & Brian A. Jacob, 2006. "Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance?," NBER Working Papers 12199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Betts, Julian & Costrell, Robert, 2000. "Incentives and Equity Under Standards-Based Reform," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt88p1f879, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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    Cited by:
    1. Luciano Castro & Marialaura Pesce & Nicholas Yannelis, 2011. "Core and equilibria under ambiguity," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 519-548, October.
    2. Marta Faias & Carlos Hervés-Beloso & Emma Moreno-García, 2011. "Equilibrium price formation in markets with differentially informed agents," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 205-218, September.

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