Hit or Miss? Test Taking Behavior in Multiple Choice Exams
54 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2016 Last revised: 18 Mar 2021
Date Written: July 2016
We model and estimate the decision to answer questions in multiple choice tests with negative marking. Our focus is on the trade-off between precision and fairness. Negative marking reduces guessing, thereby increasing accuracy considerably. However, it reduces the expected score of the more risk averse, discriminating against them. Using data from the Turkish University Entrance Exam, we find that students' attitudes towards risk differ according to their gender and ability. Women and those with high ability are significantly more risk averse: nevertheless, the impact on scores of such differences is small, making a case for negative marking.
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