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Preparation time, exam scores, and tertiary education

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  • Simon Søbstad Bensnes

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

Past research has emphasized that school year length and instruction time affect student test scores. In many cases students are allowed some time in preparation for high-stakes tests, and the length and use of this time is likely to affect actual test scores in a similar way as school year length. However, today no empirical evidence exist on the effect of preparation time. This paper adds to the literature by using what is in effect random variation in students’ preparation time prior to high-stakes exams. Explicitly, all Norwegian high school students are notified which exams each student will take at a precise date and time. Because students are randomly assigned to take exams in several different subjects, there is a random within-student variation in the length of preparation time varying between 5 and 25 days in the data. Using this randomization and administrative student level data, the study finds that 5 extra days of preparation time increases exams scores between 5.7 and 6.7% of a standard deviation. The effect differs somewhat between the genders, and also materializes strongly in longer-run outcomes indicating increased human capital. Finally, the paper uses the variation in preparation time to estimate an IV estimate of the effect of exam scores on longer-run outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Søbstad Bensnes, 2016. "Preparation time, exam scores, and tertiary education," Working Paper Series 17216, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:17216
    as

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    File URL: http://www.svt.ntnu.no/iso/WP/2016/3_Bensnes.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    3. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
    4. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2015. "A Practitioner’s Guide to Cluster-Robust Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 317-372.
    5. Simon Søbstad Bensnes, 2015. "You sneeze, you lose: The impact of pollen exposure on cognitive performance during high-stakes high school exams," Working Paper Series 16615, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    6. Ozkan Eren & Daniel Millimet, 2007. "Time to learn? The organizational structure of schools and student achievement," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 301-332, May.
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    8. Magnus Carlsson & Gordon B. Dahl & Björn Öckert & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2015. "The Effect of Schooling on Cognitive Skills," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 533-547, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    High school; test scores; preparation time.;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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