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The Effects of Test-based Retention on Student Outcomes over Time: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida

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  • Guido Schwerdt
  • Martin R. West

Abstract

A growing number of American states require that students who do not demonstrate basic reading proficiency at the end of third grade be retained and provided with remedial services. We exploit a discontinuity in the probability of third grade retention under Florida’s test-based promotion policy to study the causal effect of retention on student outcomes over time. Although conventional OLS estimates suggest negative effects of retention on achievement, regression discontinuity estimates indicate large positive effects on achievement and a reduced probability of retention in subsequent years. The achievement gains from test-based retention fade out over time, however, and are statistically insignificant after six years.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-04/cesifo1_wp4203.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4203.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4203

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Keywords: educational production; public schools; grade retention;

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  1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John P. Papay & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2011. "How Performance Information Affects Human-Capital Investment Decisions: The Impact of Test-Score Labels on Educational Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 17120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marco Manacorda, 2012. "The Cost of Grade Retention," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 596-606, May.
  4. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Guido Schwerdt & Martin R. West, 2011. "The Impact of Alternative Grade Configurations on Student Outcomes through Middle and High School," CESifo Working Paper Series 3530, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Urquiola, Miguel & Verhoogen, Eric A., 2007. "Class Size and Sorting in Market Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
  9. 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.
  10. Austin Nichols, 2007. "Causal inference with observational data," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 507-541, December.
  11. Matsudaira, Jordan D., 2008. "Mandatory summer school and student achievement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 829-850, February.
  12. Philip Babcock & Kelly Bedard, 2011. "The Wages of Failure: New Evidence on School Retention and Long-Run Outcomes," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(3), pages 293-322, July.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2010. "Generalizations about Using Value-Added Measures of Teacher Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 267-71, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Youth Unemployment in Belgium: Diagnosis and Key Remedies," IZA Policy Papers 66, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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