Sticky assessments – the impact of teachers’ grading standard on pupils’ school performance
Tamás Keller ()
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Tamás Keller: TÁRKI Social Research Institute Inc.
Chapter 16 in Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación, 2015, vol. 10, pp 311-334 from Asociación de Economía de la Educación
This paper argues that school marks cannot be interpreted only as a reward for a given academic achievement, since they also reflect teachers’ ratings of pupils. Relative within-classroom differences in marks therefore contain valuable information about pupils’ own – usually unknown – ability, and could have an effect on subsequent academic achievement. We seek to answer the question of what happens if pupils receive better school marks for the same academic achievement. Do better marks subsequently motivate students to achieve more, or is the effect actually demotivating? Moreover, is the impact of marks a compositional effect of the class (who are the peers, how good are the teachers, how good is the school) or is it universal – true of every classroom, regardless of its characteristics? In addition, this article seeks to cast light on why school marks are important in later academic achievement. By applying first-difference and fixed effect estimators to various types of Hungarian educational panel datasets, we show that marks do have a positive effect on subsequent academic achievement. This holds true for those who have not switched classes. The estimated impact is independent of classroom composition, showing that the benefit arising from within-classroom differences in marks occurs in every classroom. The established impact is higher among lower-status pupils. The growth of self-confidence is offered as a possible underlying mechanism to explain this impact.
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