High-Stakes Grades and Student Behavior

Ulrik Hvidman, Hans Sievertsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
406 Downloads (Pure)


High-stakes exams carry important consequences for the prospects of reaching university. This study examines whether the incentives associated with exam grades affect educational investments. Exploiting a reform-induced recoding of high school students' grade point average, we identify the effect of high-stakes grades on student behavior. The results show that students who were downgraded by the recoding performed better on subsequent assessments. The increase in academic performance in high school translated into an increased likelihood of university enrollment. As the recoding did not convey information about actual performance, these results emphasize that incentives are important in understanding students’ educational investments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0718-9620R2
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Human Resources
Issue number0
Early online date16 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Education


  • student incentives
  • high-stakes exams
  • human capital


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