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Piopiunik, Marc
Schlotter, Martin
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Ifo Working Paper 121
Theoretical work shows that grading on a curve, i.e., teachers assessing students relativeto their classmates, can negatively affect students’ learning effort. However, little isknown about its empirical incidence. To overcome bias from non-random sorting andomitted variables like teachers’ grading standards, we exploit within-student acrosssubjectvariation observing both teacher-assigned grades and test scores of German4th-graders in reading and math. We find that having classmates with one standarddeviation higher test scores lowers a student’s grade by about 10 percent of a standarddeviation. Importantly, only female teachers grade on a curve and there is no associationbetween students’ learning effort and relative grading.
Teacher grading
grading on a curve
learning incentives
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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