Taking PISA Seriously: How Accurate are Low Stakes Exams?
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. We compare the score/rankings with no corrections to those generated using the PISA approach as well as our method which fully corrects for the bias. We show that the total bias is large and that the PISA approach corrects for only about half of it.
We would like to thank Joris Pinkse, Keisuke Hirano and Kim Ruhl for their comments and suggestions and Meghna Bramhachari for help in proof reading. We owe special thanks to colleagues at the OECD for answering our numerous questions about the data. Huacong Liu was instrumental in our working on this project and we thank her for all her help. We are responsible for all errors. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Pelin Akyol & Kala Krishna & Jinwen Wang, 2021. "Taking PISA Seriously: How Accurate are Low-Stakes Exams?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 184-243, June. citation courtesy of