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The Colombian Test Score Puzzle


  • Gloria L. Bernal ; Jeffrey Penney
  • Jeffrey Penney


The Colombian high school exit exam, which most student must take in order to graduate, exhibits a pattern in test scores wherein younger students perform better on average. This is a counterintuitive phenomenon since age-at-test effects predict instead that students should perform better with age. In this paper, we examine several possibilities as to why this unexpected relationship exists. We conclude that it is likely due to some combination of patterns in grade repetition and school entry decisions based on student ability. *********** El examen de salida de la escuela secundaria colombiana, que la mayoría de los estudiantes deben tomar para graduarse, muestra un patrón en los puntajes de las en donde los estudiantes más jóvenes tienen un mejor desempeno en promedio. Esto es un fenómeno contra-intuitivo puesto que la relación de la edad sobre las pruebas predice que los estudiantes deben tener un mejor rendimiento conforme son mayores. En este documento, examinamos varias posibilidades de por qué existe esta relación inesperada. Concluimos que el fenómeno puede deberse a una combinación de patrones en la repetición de grado y a las decisiones de entrada al colegio basadas en la capacidad del estudiante.

Suggested Citation

  • Gloria L. Bernal ; Jeffrey Penney & Jeffrey Penney, 2017. "The Colombian Test Score Puzzle," Vniversitas Económica 15889, Universidad Javeriana - Bogotá.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000416:015889

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    age of starting school; age at test; Colombia; month of birth; relative age; test scores;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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