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Retaking the SAT

Author

Listed:
  • Jacob L. Vigdor
  • Charles T. Clotfelter

Abstract

Using data on applicants to three selective universities, we analyze a college applicant’s decision to retake the SAT. We model this decision as an optimal search problem, and use the model to assess the impact of college admissions policies on retaking behavior. The most common test score ranking policy, which utilizes only the highest of all submitted scores, provides large incentives to retake the test. This places certain applicants at a disadvantage: those with high test-taking costs, those attaching low values to college admission, and those with ‘‘pessimistic’’ prior beliefs regarding their own ability.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob L. Vigdor & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2003. "Retaking the SAT," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:38:y:2003:i:1:p1-33
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Southwick, Lawrence Jr & Gill, Indermit S., 1997. "Unified salary schedule and student SAT scores: Adverse effects of adverse selection in the market for secondary school teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 143-153, April.
    2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Frisancho, Veronica & Krishna, Kala & Lychagin, Sergey & Yavas, Cemile, 2016. "Better luck next time: Learning through retaking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 120-135.
    2. Takao Kato & Chad Sparber, 2013. "Quotas and Quality: The Effect of H-1B Visa Restrictions on the Pool of Prospective Undergraduate Students from Abroad," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 109-126, March.
    3. Clark, Melissa & Rothstein, Jesse & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2009. "Selection bias in college admissions test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 295-307, June.
    4. Ehrenberg, R.G.Ronald G., 2004. "Econometric studies of higher education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 19-37.
    5. Bond, Timothy N. & Bulman, George & Li, Xiaoxiao & Smith, Jonathan, 2016. "Updating Human Capital Decisions: Evidence from SAT Score Shocks and College Applications," MPRA Paper 72497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Victor Lavy & Avraham Ebenstein & Sefi Roth, 2014. "The Long Run Human Capital and Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations," NBER Working Papers 20647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gordon C. Winston & Catharine B. Hill, 2005. "Access to the Most Selective Private Colleges by High-Ability, Low-Income Students: Are They Out There?," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-69, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    8. Joshua Goodman & Michael Hurwitz & Jonathan Smith, "undated". "Access to Four-Year Public Colleges and Degree Completion," Working Paper 175226, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:14-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kala Krishna & Sergey Lychagin & Verónica Frisancho Robles, 2015. "Retaking in High Stakes Exams: Is Less More?," NBER Working Papers 21640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Bond, Timothy N. & Bulman, George & Li, Xiaoxiao & Smith, Jonathan, 2016. "Updated Expectations and College Application Portfolios," MPRA Paper 69317, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. repec:hrv:hksfac:34298861 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Goodman, Joshua & Hurwitz, Michael & Smith, Jonathan, 2015. "College Access, Initial College Choice and Degree Completion," Working Paper Series rwp14-030, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    14. Christopher Avery, 2010. "The Effects of College Counseling on High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 16359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Sarena Goodman, 2013. "Learning from the test: raising selective college enrollment by providing information," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-69, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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