Worldwide, a high percentage of students either skip questions, spend insufficient time answering them, or quit early when taking the Program for International Student Assessment test. As a result, a handful of countries fall lower in overall PISA rankings than they might if their students applied themselves, according to a new study.
The authors mined keystroke data—how long students spent on each test question and how they responded to various kinds of test questions—from the 2015 online administration of PISA, which was taken by students in more than 58 countries, including the United States. They found, for instance, that wealthier students and lower-skilled students tended to take the exam less seriously. And countries in which students reported sitting for more “high stakes” exams had a higher proportion of students blowing off PISA, which does not carry stakes for students.
In all, the proportion of students exhibiting “nonserious” behavior on the test ranged from a low of 14 percent in Korea to a high of 67 percent in Brazil. In the United States, about 23 percent of test-takers fell into that category.
A version of this article appeared in the September 05, 2018 edition of Education Week as Test-Taking