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What is at stake without high-stakes exams? Students’ evaluation and admission to college at the time of COVID-19

Andreu Arenas, Caterina Calsamiglia and Annalisa Loviglio

Economics of Education Review, 2021, vol. 83, issue C

Abstract: The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 inhibited face-to-face education and constrained exam taking. In many countries worldwide, high-stakes exams happening at the end of the school year determine college admissions. This paper investigates the impact of using historical data of school and high-stakes exams results to train a model to predict high-stakes exams given the available data in the Spring. The most transparent and accurate model turns out to be a linear regression model with high school GPA as the main predictor. Further analysis of the predictions reflect how high-stakes exams relate to GPA in high school for different subgroups in the population. Predicted scores slightly advantage females and low SES individuals, who perform relatively worse in high-stakes exams than in high school. Our preferred model accounts for about 50% of the out-of-sample variation in the high-stakes exam. On average, the student rank using predicted scores differs from the actual rank by almost 17 percentiles. This suggests that either high-stakes exams capture individual skills that are not measured by high school grades or that high-stakes exams are a noisy measure of the same skill.

Keywords: Performance prediction; High-stakes exams; College allocation; COVID-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 I24 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:83:y:2021:i:c:s0272775721000625

DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2021.102143

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