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Comparing Means can be Mean: Quantifying the Performance of Universidad Javeriana´s Economics Students at the ECAES Exit Exam


  • Silvia C. Gómez Soler


As part of an initiative to improve quality and accountability in Colombian higher education, the National Education Ministry introduced a college field-specific exit exam known as ECAES in 2003. The purpose of this paper is to use an alternative approach to quantify and analyze the performance of students in the ECAES exam. The specific case of the students enrolled at Universidad Javeriana´s Economics Program is addressed using Propensity Score Matching. The paper examines and builds on the problems that came up in previous attempts to analyze the results of this exam as a measure of educational quality. The empirical results show a strong treatment effect of attending Universidad Javeriana on the performance in the ECAES exam. The average treatment effect on the treated varies from 4.723 to 5.911 points. This outcome is consistent amongst the different algorithms considered. In contrast to what previous studies have shown using rankings derived from simple comparisons of mean test scores, students from Universidad Javeriana are performing better than comparable students, showing that the construction and interpretation of those rankings might be flawed. However, the purpose of this paper is not to set a new ranking system.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvia C. Gómez Soler, 2012. "Comparing Means can be Mean: Quantifying the Performance of Universidad Javeriana´s Economics Students at the ECAES Exit Exam," Vniversitas Económica 10004, Universidad Javeriana - Bogotá.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000416:010004

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    higher education; exit exams; economics of education; impact evaluation.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development


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