The effect of higher-stake grades on student achievement

Author: Lucas Tilley, And

Dnr: 25/2020

This project evaluates a high school admission reform in Stockholm to study whether students respond to incentives for higher grades. Prior to the reform, compulsory school graduates were allocated to oversubscribed high schools mainly on the basis of proximity. After the reform, graduates with higher grade point averages had priority for admission to their preferred school even if they lived further away. As a result, students faced stronger incentives to perform well in compulsory school, while compulsory schools faced stronger incentives to inflate grades. The aim of this project is to evaluate whether these stronger incentives had an effect on student grades, and if so, whether the effects are due to changes in student effort or school grading practices. The effects are measured using regional variation in the implementation of the admission reform.