Understanding Student Self-Reports of Academic Performance and Course-Taking Behavior
In recent years, student surveys have played an increasingly large role in educational research, policy making, and, particularly, accountability efforts. However, research on the accuracy of students’ self-reports about themselves and their education is limited to analyses of overall grade point average and ACT/SAT standardized test scores. Using a unique data set, we investigate the accuracy of students’ survey responses to questions about their course taking and grades in mathematics during high school. We then analyze which student and survey characteristics influence accuracy. We find that students are
reasonably good reporters of course-taking patterns but poor reporters of more potentially sensitive questions, including when the student completed Algebra I and the grade earned in the course. We find that lack of accuracy in student survey reports is consistently related to several student characteristics.