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Measuring Success in Education: The Role of Effort on the Test Itself

Uri Gneezy, John List (), Jeffrey A. Livingston, Xiangdong Qin, Sally Sadoff and Yang Xu

American Economic Review: Insights, 2019, vol. 1, issue 3, 291-308

Abstract: US students often rank poorly on standardized tests that estimate and compare educational achievements. We investigate whether this might reflect not only differences in ability but also differences in effort on the test. We experimentally offer students incentives to put forth effort in two US high schools and four Shanghai high schools. US students improve performance substantially in response to incentives, while Shanghai students—who are top performers on assessments—do not. These results raise the possibility that ranking countries based on low-stakes assessments may not reflect only differences in ability, but also motivation to perform well on the test.

JEL-codes: C93 I21 I26 O15 P36 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aeri.20180633
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Working Paper: Measuring success in education: the role of effort on the test itself (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Measuring Success in Education: The Role of Effort on the Test Itself (2017) Downloads
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