NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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James Key

University of Western Australia

E-Mail: james.key@uwa.edu.au
Institutional Affiliation: University of Western Australia

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2016Hit or Miss? Test Taking Behavior in Multiple Choice Exams
with Ş. Pelin Akyol, Kala Krishna: w22401
We model and estimate the decision to answer questions in multiple choice tests with negative marking. Our focus is on the trade-off between precision and fairness. Negative marking reduces guessing, thereby increasing accuracy considerably. However, it reduces the expected score of the more risk averse, discriminating against them. Using data from the Turkish University Entrance Exam, we find that students' attitudes towards risk differ according to their gender and ability. Women and those with high ability are significantly more risk averse: nevertheless, the impact on scores of such differences is small, making a case for negative marking.
 
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