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Wößmann, Ludger (2008): Central Final Exams and Students’ Achievement. Individual analyses on the basis of four international tests. In: Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, Vol. 54, No. 6: pp. 810-826
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Within the framework of principal-agent-models, central exit exams canbe modelled as measures of accountability which hold students andschools responsible for their educational achievements. Comprehensiveregression analyses on the basis of individual student data provided byfour international comparative studies on student achievement (TIMSS1995, TIMSS 1999, PISA 2000, and PISA 2003) show that, comparedinternationally, central exit exams are associated with substantiallyhigher student performance. The effect of central exit exams is alsoapparent in a comparison between the German Laender; statistically, theresults found here cannot be distinguished from the internationalestimate. Furthermore, the international results show that central exitexams tend to turn otherwise negative effects of increased schoolautonomy into positive effects. This, in turn, suggests that centralexit exams induce not only students, but also the decision-makers atschools to act and behave in a way that is conducive to learning.