Acing the Test: Educational Effects of the SaberEs Test Preparation Program in Colombia

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La serie Borradores de Economía es una publicación de la Subgerencia de Estudios Económicos del Banco de la República. Los trabajos son de carácter provisional, las opiniones y posibles errores son responsabilidad exclusiva del autor y sus contenidos no comprometen al Banco de la República ni a su Junta Directiva.

Autor o Editor
Christian Manuel Posso-Suárez
Estefanía Saravia
Pablo Uribe

The series Borradores de Economía (Working Papers on Economics) contributes to the dissemination and promotion of the work by researchers from the institution. On multiple occasions, these works have been the result of collaborative work with individuals from other national or international institutions. This series is indexed at Research Papers in Economics (RePEc). The opinions contained in this document are the sole responsibility of the author and do not commit Banco de la República or its Board of Directors.

Fecha de publicación


Education in Colombia and Latin America is characterized by significant gaps in the quality of education as measured by standardized test scores. This  paper assesses the impact of a Colombian program called SaberEs, which strengthens preparation for standardized cognitive tests such as the high school exit exam in Colombia (Saber 11 ) for low socioeconomic status students. The program provides competency-based training sessions to develop skills for analyzing and solving specific types of questions within school hours. Our difference-in-differences estimates show that SaberEs increased Saber 11 scores by 2.22 ranks (or 0.074 standard deviations), which implies that the socioeconomic achievement gap was reduced by 23% regarding the control schools. Also, students affected by the program experienced a significant increase in access to tertiary education and merit-based scholarships in Colombia.