High-Stakes Examinations and Educational Inequality: Evidence from Transitory Exposure to Air Pollution

76 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2022 Last revised: 6 Dec 2022

See all articles by Hui Deng

Hui Deng

Tsinghua University

Rui Du

Department of Economics, Oklahoma State University

Dongmei Guo

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) - School of Economics

Weizeng Sun

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) - School of Economics

Yuhuan Xia

Beijing Jiaotong University - School of Economics and Management

Date Written: November 11, 2022

Abstract

Using unique data that track college students' performance over multiple high-stakes tests, we study the impact of transitory random disturbances to student cognitive performance and a minimum-passing-score policy on access to graduate education. Exploiting thermal inversions as an instrumental variable and individual fixed effects, we document significant adverse cognitive effects of transitory exposure to air pollution during the exam, which vary considerably by pollution level, exam section, student academic ability, and gender. We further show that the harmful cognitive effects permanently reduce students’ chances of getting into graduate school, especially for marginal students who scored just below the minimum passing score. Marginal students would be less affected by random disturbances and have more equal access to graduate education had such an exam policy not been adopted.

Keywords: Educational Inequality, minimum passing score, high-stakes exam, air pollution, transitory exposure, cognitive performance

JEL Classification: Q50, Q53, I24

Suggested Citation

Deng, Hui and Du, Rui and Guo, Dongmei and Sun, Weizeng and Xia, Yuhuan, High-Stakes Examinations and Educational Inequality: Evidence from Transitory Exposure to Air Pollution (November 11, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4275100 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4275100

Hui Deng

Tsinghua University ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China

Rui Du (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, Oklahoma State University ( email )

347 Business Building
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK OK 74078-0555
United States

Dongmei Guo

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) - School of Economics ( email )

Beijing
China

Weizeng Sun

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) - School of Economics ( email )

Beijing
China

Yuhuan Xia

Beijing Jiaotong University - School of Economics and Management

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
51
Abstract Views
339
Rank
722,281
PlumX Metrics