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Promotion with and Without Learning: Effects on Student Enrollment and Dropout Behavior

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  • King, Elizabeth M.
  • Orazem, Peter
  • Paterno, Elizabeth M.

Abstract

Many educators and policymakers have argued for lenient grade promotion policy – even automatic promotion – in developing country settings where grade retention rates are high. The argument assumes that grade retention discourages persistence or continuation in school and that the promotion of children with lower achievement does not hamper their ability or their peer’s ability to perform at the next level. Alternatively, promoting students into grades for which they are not prepared may lead to early dropout behavior. This study shows that in a sample of schools from the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, students are promoted primarily on the basis of merit. An econometric decomposition of promotion decisions into a component that is based on merit indicators (attendance and achievement in mathematics and language) and another that is uncorrelated with those indicators allow a test of whether parental decisions to keep their child in school is influenced by merit-based or non-merit-based promotions. Results suggest that the enrollment decision is significantly influenced by whether learning has taken place, and that grade promotion that is uncorrelated with merit has a negligible impact on school continuation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12968.

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Date of creation: 28 Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12968

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Keywords: Grade repetition; grade retention; grade promotion; enrollment; achievement; dropout; Pakistan;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Kathryn Anderson & Elizabeth King & Yan Wang, 2003. "Market Returns, Transfers and Demand for Schooling in Malaysia, 1976-89," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 1-28.
  3. Dennis D. Kimko & Eric A. Hanushek, 2000. "Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1184-1208, December.
  4. Gertler, Paul & Glewwe, Paul, 1990. "The willingness to pay for education in developing countries : Evidence from rural Peru," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 251-275, August.
  5. 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.
  6. Bedi, Arjun S & Marshall, Jeffrey H, 1999. "School Attendance and Student Achievement: Evidence from Rural Honduras," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(3), pages 657-82, April.
  7. Ahmad, Junaid & Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Shah, Shekhar, 2005. "Decentralization and service delivery," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3603, The World Bank.
  8. Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Psacharopoulos, George, 1992. "Socioeconomic and ethnic determinants of grade repetition in Bolivia and Guatemala," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1028, The World Bank.
  9. Gomes-Neto, Joao Batista & Hanushek, Eric A, 1994. "Causes and Consequences of Grade Repetition: Evidence from Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 117-48, October.
  10. Alderman, Harold & Orazem, Peter & Paterno, Elizabeth M., 2001. "School Quality, School Cost, and the Public/Private School Choices of Low-Income Households in Pakistan," Staff General Research Papers 1970, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1991. "School Repetition, Dropouts, and the Rates of Return to Schooling: The Case of Indonesia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(4), pages 467-80, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.

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