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When Students Don’t Care: Reexamining International Differences in Achievement and Student Effort

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  • Gema Zamarro
  • Collin Hitt
  • Ildefonso Mendez

Abstract

Policy debates in education are greatly influenced by international differences in test scores. The presumption is that differences in test scores reflect differences in cognitive skills and content knowledge. We challenge this presumption by studying how much of the variation in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores is associated with student effort. We build a number of measures of student effort on the basis of both the PISA test and the student survey. Together, our measures of student effort explain between 32 and 38 percent of the variation in test scores across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Gema Zamarro & Collin Hitt & Ildefonso Mendez, 2019. "When Students Don’t Care: Reexamining International Differences in Achievement and Student Effort," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 519-552.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/705799
    DOI: 10.1086/705799
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Marta Ferreyra & Carlos Garriga & Juan D. Martin-Ocampo & Angélica María Sánchez Díaz, 2021. "Raising College Access and Completion: How Much Can Free College Help?," Borradores de Economia 1155, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

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