Friday, February 1, 2013

Gender and Test Taking

Katie Baldiga had a paper on gender differences in Test taking "Gender Differences in Willingness to Guess". The abstract reads:
"Multiple-choice tests play a large role in determining academic and professional outcomes. Performance on these tests hinges not only on a test-taker’s knowledge of the material but also on his willingness to guess when unsure about the answer. In this paper, we present the results of an experiment that explores whether women skip more questions than men. The experimental test consists of practice questions from the SAT II subject tests; we vary the size of the penalty imposed for a wrong answer and the salience of the evaluative nature of the task. We …find that when no penalty is assessed for a wrong answer, all test-takers answer every question. But, when there is a small penalty for wrong answers, women answer signi…ficantly fewer questions than men. We see no differences in knowledge of the material or con…fidence in the test-takers, and differences in risk preferences fail to explain all of the observed gap. We show that, conditional on their knowledge of the material, test-takers who skip questions do signifi…cantly worse on our experimental test, putting women and other test-takers that are less willing to guess at a disadvantage".

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