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Can Testing Improve Student Learning? An Evaluation of the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project

Julian R. Betts, Youjin Hahn () and Andrew C. Zau

No 31-15, Monash Economics Working Papers from Monash University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Unlike state-mandated achievement tests, tests from the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) offer teachers timely and detailed feedback on their students’ achievement. We identify the effects of providing feedback on student outcomes by using data from the San Diego Unified School District, a large urban school district where mandatory diagnostic tests in mathematics were implemented to some grades between 6 and 9 during 1999 and 2006. These diagnostic tests offer teachers timely and detailed feedback on their students’ achievement. We find that providing diagnostic feedback improves math test scores by 0.1 to 0.2 standard deviations. All students gain from this mandated testing, but those with higher initial achievement gain the most. The gains arise in part from students being more accurately tracked into appropriate math classes. The gains decay unless students are tested repeatedly.

Keywords: Diagnostic testing; student learning; education (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2015-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-ure
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Journal Article: Can testing improve student learning? An evaluation of the mathematics diagnostic testing project (2017) Downloads
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