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Identifying the Incidence of "Grading on a Curve":A Within-Student Across-Subject Approach

Listed author(s):
  • Marc Piopiunik

    ()

  • Martin Schlotter

Theoretical work shows that grading on a curve, i.e., teachers assessing students relativeto their classmates, can negatively affect students’ learning effort. However, little isknown about its empirical incidence. To overcome bias from non-random sorting andomitted variables like teachers’ grading standards, we exploit within-student acrosssubjectvariation observing both teacher-assigned grades and test scores of German4th-graders in reading and math. We find that having classmates with one standarddeviation higher test scores lowers a student’s grade by about 10 percent of a standarddeviation. Importantly, only female teachers grade on a curve and there is no associationbetween students’ learning effort and relative grading.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-Ifo_Working_Papers/wp-ifo-2012/IfoWorkingPaper-121.pdf
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Paper provided by Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Paper No. 121.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_121
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  1. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 158-165, May.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1993. "Estimates of the Returns to Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons and Brothers," NBER Working Papers 4491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Bonesronning, Hans, 1999. "The variation in teachers' grading practices: causes and consequences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 89-106, February.
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  7. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2007. "What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong: Birthday Effects and Early Tracking in the German School System," CESifo Working Paper Series 2055, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Hans Bonesrønning, 2004. "Do the teachers' grading practices affect student achievement?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 151-167.
  9. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  10. Johannes Metzler & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Impact of Teacher Subject Knowledge on Student Achievement: Evidence from Within-Teacher Within-Student Variation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3111, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2000. "Do High Grading Standards Affect Student Performance?," NBER Working Papers 7985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-1173, December.
  15. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
  16. Pedro Landeras, 2009. "Student effort: standards vs. tournaments," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(9), pages 965-969.
  17. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
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