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Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection


  • Eduardo Andrade
  • Luciano De Castro


A parallel of education with transformative processes in standard markets suggest that a more severe control of the quality of the output will improve the overall quality of the education. This paper shows a somehow counterintuitive result: an increase in the exam difficulty 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, rather than increase exams' difficulties.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Andrade & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1533, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1533

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    14. Daniel M. Koretz, 2002. "Limitations in the Use of Achievement Tests as Measures of Educators' Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 752-777.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marta Faias & Carlos Hervés-Beloso & Emma Moreno-García, 2011. "Equilibrium price formation in markets with differentially informed agents," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 48(1), pages 205-218, September.
    2. Luciano Castro & Marialaura Pesce & Nicholas Yannelis, 2011. "Core and equilibria under ambiguity," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 48(2), pages 519-548, October.

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