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How much and why do teachers “help” students during Invalsi testing?

In the past few years, significant criticism has been directed at Invalsi (National Institute for the Evaluation of Education Systems) standardised testing in Italy (and, more in general, at standardised testing in education), often referring to the risk that results might be manipulated not only by cheating students, but also by teachers who – in a more worrisome scenario – are asked to “help” their pupils when handing out or carrying out tests. 

This paper, by Gerard Ferrer-Esteban of Fondazione Agnelli, is one of the very first attempts to analyse cheating during Invalsi testing in Italy by adopting a rigorous econometric approach; its goal is to quantify the impact of cheating in different school contexts, and to explore possible motivations behind the behaviour – one of the most significant being the will to help students from underprivileged social and cultural background.

The research and conclusions of this paper provided crucial input for the Angelli Foundation’s Report on School Evaluation.