Gender Differences in Academic Performance: The Role of Negative Marking in Multiple-Choice Exams

37 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2017

See all articles by Patricia Funk

Patricia Funk

University of Lugano

Helena Perrone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

We investigate whether penalizing wrong answers on multiple-choice tests ("negative marking") makes females relatively worse off compared to males (the comparison being no penalties for wrong answers). With a cohort of more than 500 undergraduate students at a major Spanish university, we conducted a field experiment in the Microeconomics course. We created a final exam, which was composed of two parts: one with penalties for wrong answers and one without. Students were randomly allocated to different exam permutations, which differed in the questions that carried penalties for wrong answers. We find that the penalties did not harm female students. Females performed better than males on both parts of the exam and did so to a greater extent on the part with penalties. Whereas risk aversion did not affect overall scores (despite affecting answering behavior), ability did. High-ability students performed relatively better with negative marking, and these were more likely to be women.

Suggested Citation

Funk, Patricia and Perrone, Helena, Gender Differences in Academic Performance: The Role of Negative Marking in Multiple-Choice Exams (December 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11716, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2893069

Patricia Funk (Contact Author)

University of Lugano ( email )

Via Giuseppe Buffi 13
Lugano, TN Ticino 6900
Switzerland

Helena Perrone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
348
PlumX Metrics