TITLE: Do Gains in Test Scores Explain Labor Market Outcomes?

AUTHOR: Heather Rose

PAGES: 46      DATE: February 2006

ABSTRACT: Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, this article investigates the impact of high school test score gains on later earnings and employment. Using models that control for pre-high school test scores, family background, and demographic characteristics, the paper compares students who made relatively large improvements to their test scores to those whose test scores improved little. Findings show markedly different outcomes according to gender. Among women who were employed seven years after graduation, those who had gained one standard deviation beyond the average score in their high school tests generally earned 9 percent more than the average wage. For all women, employed or not, the effects of test score gains appeared even larger, indicating that such gains influence employment status as well as earnings once employed. For men, however, test score gains did not appear to be significantly related either to employment status or earnings, except for those who had low initial test scores.

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