The Gender Gap in Student Performance: The Role of the Testing Environment

le Lundi 11 Octobre 2021 à À L’Ined de 11h30 à 12h30 en hybride

Présenté par : Almudena Sevilla University College London (UCL), UK ; Discutante : Marion Monnet


Our research question is to what extent does the familiarity with the testing environment impact the relative performance of boys and girls in standardized testing. We use an RCT-design on the full population of students in Grade 6 and 10 across several subjects in the Region of Madrid (Spain). This standardized test was either "Externally" administered, meaning that teachers from different schools were centrally allocated by the government to invigilate and mark the test, or internally administered by each school, meaning that invigilators and markers were teachers from the school. Whether schools had externally or internally administered tests were randomly assigned. We find that girls underperform boys in externally administer testing environment, particularly in traditionally male-dominated subjects, such as Math and Science. Additional evidence from surveying students at the end of the tests suggests that that girls experience higher levels of pressure than boys in "Externally" administered testing environments. We contribute to the literature in 2 important ways: 1) Most of the previous work on gender differences are based on natural experiments of particular samples (high achieving graduates) or lab experiments. Here we have an RCT on the entire population. 2) Previous work was not able to look directly at the direct mechanisms at play for girls relative underperformance, which we do with our survey.

Biographie Almudena Sevilla

Almudena Sevilla is a Professor in Economics and Public Policy at UCL, and co-director of the UCL Centre of Time Use Research. Almudena is also the Chair of the Royal Economics Society Women’s Committee. She is an applied micro economist whose research focuses on the areas of gender, child development and human capital. Almudena’s current project, PARENTIME, has received Eur. 2M funding from the European Union as part of the ERC Consolidator Grant (2018-2022). The objective of PARENTIME is to develop new socio-economic theories that unpack the detailed mechanisms driving the inter-generational transmission of inequality.