Economics Seminar Series

Ginger Jin, University of Maryland.

Ginger Jin, University of Maryland

Ginger Jin, University of Maryland

Ginger Jin and Haoyuan Chen

Voluntary Report of Standardized Test Scores: An Experimental Study

The past few years have seen a shift in many universities’ admission policies from test-required to either test-optional or test-blind. This paper uses laboratory experiments to examine students’ reporting behavior given their application package and the school’s interpretation of non-reported standardized test scores. We find that voluntary disclosure is incomplete and selective, while subjects exhibit the ability to learn about the hidden school interpretations. Student subjects are more likely to hide their private information when the school is more lenient for non-reporting and when they receive a better draw on their other attribute observable to the school. Using a structural model of student reporting behavior, we simulate admission outcomes for 16 counterfactual test-optional policies. Then, we examine the potential tradeoff between academic preparedness and diversity in a school’s admission cohort. We find that test-blind is the worst in both dimensions, while test-required admits students with better academic preparedness and more diverse non-test attributes than 11 of the 16 test-optional policies. The few test-optional policies that are not dominated by test-required have more diversity but lower academic preparedness on average than test-required. This tradeoff occurs because our subjects do not possess perfect information of the school policy. When we simulate under perfect information, these two test-optional policies are also dominated by test-required in both dimensions.

DATE: Friday, April 12, 2024

TIME: 3:00-4:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Fronczak 444