What Do Test Scores Really Mean? A Latent Class Analysis of Danish Test Score Performance

Martin D. Munk, James McIntosh

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Latent class Poisson count models are used to analyze a sample of Danish test
score results from a cohort of individuals born in 1954-55, tested in 1968, and followed until 2011. The procedure takes account of unobservable effects as well as excessive zeros in the data. We show that the test scores measure manifest or measured ability as it has evolved over the life of the respondent and is, thus, more a product of the human capital formation process than some latent or fundamental measure of pure cognitive ability. We find that variables which are not closely associated with traditional notions of intelligence explain a significant proportion of the variation in test scores. This adds to the complexity of interpreting test scores and suggests that school culture and possible incentive problems make it more di¢ cult to understand what the tests measure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Educational Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)435-452
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Print publication in August 2014


  • human capital, educational production functions, test scores, ability, unobservable heterogeneity and types.

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