This paper is about investigate through which channels low-stakes test scores relate to economic success. The inferences in the economic literature regarding test scores and their association with economic outcomes are mostly based on tests without performance-based incentives, administered to survey participants.
The lack of performance-based incentives allows for the possibility that higher test scores are caused by non-cognitive skills associated with test-taking motivation, and not necessarily by cognitive skills alone. The coding speed test, which is a short and very simple test available for participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY), may serve as a proxy for test-taking motivation. To gather more definite evidence on the motivational component in the coding speed test conduct a controlled experiment, in which induce motivation via the provision of incentives.