Speeding, Tax Fraud, and Teaching to the Test
Educators worry that high-stakes testing will induce teachers and their students to focus only on the test and ignore other, untested aspects of knowledge. Some counter that although this may be true, knowing something is better than knowing nothing and many students would benefit even by learning the material that is to be tested. Using the metaphor of deterring drivers from speeding, it is shown that the optimal rules for high-stakes testing depend on the costs of learning and of monitoring. For high cost learners, and when monitoring technology is inefficient, it is better to announce what will be tested. For efficient learners, de-emphasizing the test itself is the right strategy. This is analogous to telling drivers where the police are posted when police are few. At least there will be no speeding on those roads. When police are abundant or when the fine is high relative to the benefit from speeding, it is better to keep police locations secret, which results in obeying the law everywhere. Children who are high cost learners are less likely to learn all the material and therefore learn more when they are told what is on the exam. The same logic also implies that tests should be clearly defined for younger children, but more amorphous for more advanced students.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2004|
|Publication status:||published as Lazear, Edward P. "Speeding, Terrorism, And Teaching To The Test," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2006, v121(3,Aug), 1029-1061.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
- Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "The Power of Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 410-414, May.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
- Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-431, July.
- Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
- Caroline M. Hoxby, 2002. "The Cost of Accountability," NBER Working Papers 8855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James J. Heckman & Carolyn Heinrich & Jeffrey Smith, 2002.
"The Performance of Performance Standards,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 778-811.
- James Heckman & Carolyn Heinrich & Jeffrey Smith, 2002. "The Performance of Performance Standards," NBER Working Papers 9002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Heckman, James J. & Heinrich, Carolyn J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2002. "The Performance of Performance Standards," IZA Discussion Papers 525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-817, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10932. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.