Journal Article
No. 2011-17 | October 19, 2011
Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection
(Published in Special Issue Quasi Markets in Education)


A parallel of education with transformative processes in standard markets suggest that a more severe control of the quality of the output will improve the overall quality of the education. This paper shows a somehow counterintuitive result: an increase in the exam diffculty may reduce the average quality (productivity) of selected individuals. Since the exam does not verify all skills, when its standard rises, candidates with relatively low skills emphasized in the test and high skills demanded in the job may no longer qualify. Hence, an increase in the testing standard may be counterproductive. One implication is that policies should emphasize alignment between the skills tested and those required in the actual jobs, rather than increase exams' diffculty.

Special Issue
Quasi Markets in Education

JEL Classification:

I2, J24


  • Downloads: 2412 (Discussion Paper: 2378)


Cite As

Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade and Luciano I. de Castro (2011). Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection. Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 5 (2011-17): 1–24.

Comments and Questions