Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1069–1092 | Cite as

The impact of high-stakes school admission exams on study achievements: quasi-experimental evidence from Slovakia

Original Paper

Abstract

We explore whether and to what extent the presence of high-stakes admission exams to selective schools affects student achievement, presumably through more intensive study effort. Our identification strategy exploits a quasi-experimental feature of a reform in Slovakia that shifted the school grade during which high-stakes exams are taken by 1 year. This reform enables us to compare students at the moment when they pass these exams with students in the same grade 1 year ahead of the exams. Using data from the low-stakes international TIMSS skills survey and employing difference-in-difference methodology, we find that the occurrence of high-stakes admission exams increased 10-year-old students’ math test scores by 0.2 standard deviations, on average. This effect additionally accrues by around 0.05 standard deviations among students with the highest probability of being admitted to selective schools. Although we find similar effects for both genders, there are indications that high-stakes exams in more competitive environments affect girls more than boys.

Keywords

High-stakes exams Students’ motivation Achievement 

JEL classification

I21 I24 I28 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERGE-EI, a joint workplace of Charles University and the Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPragueCzech Republic

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