When Would Educational Standards Help Improve Scholastic Achievement?

24 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2000

See all articles by Murat Iyigun

Murat Iyigun

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 1999

Abstract

I study the potential effects of setting mandatory standards in primary and secondary education on student performance. To that end, I present a model in which investment in education is indivisible. Thus, if demand exceeds supply at any level of education, allocation is carried out - at least in part - via test scores. The model highlights how the effectiveness of educational standards in altering student performance depends on the college and secondary school education premia, the stringency of standards, and the supply of college education - factors which together determine the competitiveness of college admissions. A relatively high college education premium raises the incentive to finish high school and apply to college, but the marginal benefit of meeting standards or the cost of non-compliance depend on the secondary education premium. Thus, the effect of raising educational standards on student performance may be relatively small when the secondary education premium is relatively low. Moreover, when the supply of higher education is relatively abundant so that college entrance is a non-competitive process, students' incentive to make their best effort diminishes, and in that case, the role of education premia - and therefore of standards - as incentives may be limited.

Keywords: tests, student performance, education premia, unskilled wage rate

JEL Classification: I21, I28

Suggested Citation

Iyigun, Murat F., When Would Educational Standards Help Improve Scholastic Achievement? (October 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=231812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.231812

Murat F. Iyigun (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-6653 (Phone)
303-492-8622 (Fax)

Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID) ( email )

One Eliot Street Building
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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