Institutional Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2018||Taking PISA Seriously: How Accurate are Low Stakes Exams?|
with Ş. Pelin Akyol, Kala Krishna: w24930
PISA is seen as the gold standard for evaluating educational outcomes worldwide. Yet, being a low-stakes exam, students may not take it seriously resulting in downward biased scores and inaccurate rankings. This paper provides a method to identify and account for non-serious behavior in low-stakes exams by leveraging information in computer-based assessments in PISA 2015. When skipped items are given a zero score, we show that this bias is large: most countries increase their scores significantly had their students been serious. A country can rise up to 15 places in rankings if its students took the exam seriously.