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The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion

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  • Brian A. Jacob
  • Lars Lefgren

Abstract

Low-achieving students in many school districts are retained in a grade to allow them to gain the academic or social skills that teachers believe are necessary to succeed academically. In this paper, we use plausibly exogenous variation in retention generated by a test-based promotion policy to assess the causal impact of grade retention on high school completion. We find that retention among younger students does not affect the likelihood of high school completion, but that retaining low-achieving eighth grade students in elementary school substantially increases the probability that these students will drop out of high school. (JEL I21, J13)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 33-58

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:3:p:33-58

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.3.33
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References

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  1. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," NBER Working Papers 9413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jinyong Hahn & Petra Todd & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 1999. "Evaluating the Effect of an Antidiscrimination Law Using a Regression-Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 7131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  4. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  6. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2001. "The effect of grade retention on educational and labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 563-576, December.
  9. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2011. "Automatic Grade Promotion and Student Performance: Evidence from Brazil," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/52, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Sep 2013.
  2. Pallas, Aaron M., 2010. "Meeting the basic educational needs of children and youth," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1199-1210, September.
  3. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth & Salvador Navarro & Yuya Takahashi, 2011. "How the Timing of Grade Retention Affects Outcomes: Identification and Estimation of Time-Varying Treatment Effects," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20117, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  4. Antonio Ciccone & Walter Garcia-Fontes, 2014. "Gender peer effects in school, a birth cohort approach," Economics Working Papers 1424, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Elodie ALET & Liliane BONNAL & Pascal FAVARD, 2013. "Repetition : Medicine for a Short-run Remission," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 111-112, pages 9.
  6. Cortes, Kalena E. & Bricker, Jesse & Rohlfs, Chris, 2010. "The Role of Specific Subjects in Education Production Functions: Evidence from Morning Classes in Chicago Public High Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 5031, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Rossana Patrón, 2011. "When more schooling is not worth the effort: another look at the dropout decisions of disadvantaged students in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0511, Department of Economics - dECON.
  8. Antonio Chiccone & Walter Garcia-Fontes, 2014. "Gender Peer Effects in School, a Birth Cohort Approach," Working Papers 2014-07, FEDEA.
  9. De Simone, Gianfranco, 2013. "Render unto primary the things which are primary's: Inherited and fresh learning divides in Italian lower secondary education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 12-23.
  10. Marchionni, Mariana & Vazquez, Emmanuel & Pinto, Florencia, 2012. "Desigualdad educativa en la Argentina. Análisis en base a los datos PISA 2009
    [Education Inequality in Argentina. An analysis based on PISA 2009 data]
    ," MPRA Paper 56420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Jesse Bricker & Kalena Cortes & Chris Rohlfs, 2010. "The role of specific subjects in education production functions: evidence from morning classes in Chicago public high schools," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Marchionni, Mariana & Pinto, Florencia & Vazquez, Emmanuel, 2013. "Determinantes de la desigualdad en el desempeño educativo en la Argentina
    [Determinants of the inequality in PISA test scores in Argentina]
    ," MPRA Paper 56421, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Jacob A. Frenkel & Assaf Razin, 1986. "The Limited Viability of Dual Exchange-Rate Regimes," NBER Working Papers 1902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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