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Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection

Author

Listed:
  • Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade
  • Luciano I. de Castro

Abstract

This paper shows a somehow counterintuitive result: an increase in the exam diculty may reduce the average quality (productivity) of selected individuals. Since the exam does not verify all skills, when its standard rises, candidates with relatively low skills emphasized in the test and high skills demanded in the job may no longer qualify. Hence, an increase in the testing standard may be counterproductive. One implication is that policies should emphasize alignment between the skills tested and those required in the actual jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade & Luciano I. de Castro, 2008. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1469, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1469
    as

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    File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1469.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    2. Angrist, Joshua D. & Guryan, Jonathan, 2008. "Does teacher testing raise teacher quality? Evidence from state certification requirements," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 483-503, October.
    3. Betts, Julian R, 1998. "The Impact of Educational Standards on the Level and Distribution of Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 266-275, March.
    4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    5. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
    6. Julian R. Betts & Robert M. Costrell, 2000. "Incentives and Equity Under Standards-Based Reform," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-08, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    7. Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Investment, Moral Hazard, and Occupational Licensing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(5), pages 843-862.
    8. Costrell, Robert M, 1994. "A Simple Model of Educational Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 956-971, September.
    9. Morris M. Kleiner, 2000. "Occupational Licensing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 189-202, Fall.
    10. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Paul A. LaFontaine & Pedro L. Rodríguez, 2012. "Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 495-520.
    11. Derek Neal, 2002. "How Vouchers Could Change the Market for Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 25-44, Fall.
    12. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    13. Gottlieb, Daniel & Moreira, Humberto Ataíde & Araújo, Aloísio Pessoa de, 2004. "A model of mixed signals with applications to countersignaling an the GED," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 553, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    14. Thomas S. Dee & Brian A. Jacob, 2006. "Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance?," NBER Working Papers 12199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Roger Klein & Richard Spady & Andrew Weiss, 1991. "Factors Affecting the Output and Quit Propensities of Production Workers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 929-953.
    16. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. In praise of dumbing down
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-04-09 14:21:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school standard; signaling model; cognitive skill; noncog- nitive skill;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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