Limited access Past event

School of Economics and Finance Seminar The Gender Gap in Student Performance: The Role of the Test-taking Environment

Speaker: Professor Almudena Sevilla, LSE

Abstract: We exploit a randomized control trial intervention for the whole student population in Madrid to study gender differences in response to pressure. In the trial, students were exposed to varying degrees of pressure while maintaining other factors of the test constant. We show that girls perform worse than boys in higher-pressure test-taking environments, particularly in settings with strong stereotypes of female inabilities, such as in mathematics. Students' responses to several questions after each exam reveal that girls' lower tolerance for pressure and weaker incentives to do well can explain the increase in the gender gap in mathematics under a high-pressure test-taking environment.

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