Long-term effects of the implementation of state-wide exit exams: a multilevel regression analysis of mediation effects of teaching practices on students’ motivational orientations

  • Katharina Maag MerkiEmail author
  • Britta Oerke


This study extends previous research investigating the effects of state-wide exit exams by studying the change from a class-based to a state-wide exit exam system over 5 years, using multilevel analyses and examining mediating effects of teachers’ practices on students’ motivational orientations. In this multi-cohort study, we analyzed in particular the effects on students’ interest, scholastic self-efficacy, and persistence in advanced level English courses (N = 1835) and mathematics courses (N = 1336) in two states in Germany (28 schools). Descriptive analyses, multivariate hierarchical regression analyses, and differences-in-differences analyses were carried out. The results revealed long-term effects of the implementation of state-wide exit exams particularly in the advanced level English courses. Here, a close relationship between the change in all analyzed motivational orientations and teacher support perceived by the students can be identified. These results show the ambivalent effects of state-wide exit exams: Due to the increased teacher competence support, students’ interest is enhanced in the long term. However, scholastic self-efficacy and persistence might have been negatively affected by state-wide exams, if teacher competence support had not increased over time. In the advanced level mathematics courses, the results are mixed. Implications for further research are discussed.


State-wide exit exams Multilevel regression analyses Interest Scholastic self-efficacy Persistence 



We would like to express our great appreciation to Prof. Dr. Eckhard Klieme, Dr. Monika Holmeier, Dr. Daniela J. Jäger, and Elisabeth Maué for their substantial contributions to the whole project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

This work was supported by the German Research Foundation [MA 4184/3-1 and KL 1057/12-1] and by the two states Bremen and Hesse, Germany. Research independency was contractually agreed. Accordingly, we have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of EducationUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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