Brown Bag Seminar with Perihan Saygin, University of Florida

SITE will host a research seminar with Perihan Saygin, University of Florida.

Perihan Saygin is a lecturer in the department of economics at University of Florida. Her research interest covers Labor Economics, Social Network and Economics Of Educations. Her presentation will cover her latest research paper “Gender Differences in Willingness to Guess on High-Stakes Standardized Tests”.


Around the world, multiple-choice tests are widely used as part of high-stakes examinations, such as college-admissions tests. These exams are faster to grade than exams comprised of essays, allowing them to better accommodate large numbers of test takers. However, these exams make it easier for test-takers to guess when they are not sure of an answer to a question. To counteract this, many multiple-choice examinations have instituted a penalty for wrong answers. However, these penalties result in the examinations not only testing knowledge but also the willingness to guess of test takers. This results in the potential for takers with the same level of knowledge to have different scores due to their different willingnesses to guess.

In this paper, we use administrative data from the Turkish college admissions test to study gender differences in willingness to guess across genders and the heterogeneity in these differences across subjects, difficulty levels, and stakes. By using the Turkish tracking system and using the resulting variation across different test sections, we find that female test-takers skip significantly more questions than male test-takers. This gap is larger when the stakes of guessing are higher and when questions are more difficult. We also provide suggestive evidence on the effect of self-confidence on the guessing differences. In particular, we find that in most non-Math subjects, gender differences in guessing disappear when controlling for self-confidence.

Interested in finding out more about Perihan Saygin? Visit her website.