Saturday, May 2, 2020

Test design and gender gaps in performance--evidence from a national exam in Chile, by Coffman and Klinowski

Here's a recent paper from PNAS:

The impact of penalties for wrong answers on the gender gap in test scores
Katherine B. Coffman and   David Klinowski
PNAS April 21, 2020 117 (16) 8794-8803;

Multiple-choice examinations play a critical role in university admissions across the world. A key question is whether imposing penalties for wrong answers on these examinations deters guessing from women more than men, disadvantaging female test-takers. We consider data from a large-scale, high-stakes policy change that removed penalties for wrong answers on the national college entry examination in Chile. The policy change reduced a large gender gap in questions skipped. It also narrowed gender gaps in performance, primarily among high-performing test-takers, and in the fields of math, social science, and chemistry.

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