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Targeting Non-Cognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention

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Author Info

  • Holmlund, Helena

    ()
    (CEP, London School of Economics)

  • Silva, Olmo

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

A growing body of research highlights the importance of non-cognitive skills as determinants of young people's cognitive outcomes at school. However, little evidence exists about the effects of policies that specifically target students' non-cognitive skills as a way to improve educational achievements. In this paper, we shed light on this issue by studying a remedial education programme aimed at English secondary school pupils at risk of school exclusion and with worsening educational trajectories. The main peculiarity of this intervention is that it solely targets students' non-cognitive skills – such as self-confidence, locus of control, self-esteem and motivation – with the aim of improving pupils' records of attendance and end-of-compulsory-education (age 16) cognitive outcomes. We evaluate the effect of the policy on test scores in standardized national exams at age-16 using both least squares and propensity-score matching methods. Additionally, we exploit repeated observations on pupils’ test scores to control for unobservables that might affect students’ outcomes and selection into the programme. We find little evidence that the programme significantly helped treated youths to improve their age-16 test outcomes. We also find little evidence of heterogeneous policy effects along a variety of dimensions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4476.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4476

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Related research

Keywords: cognitive and non-cognitive skills; policy evaluation; secondary schooling;

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Cited by:
  1. Martin Schlotter, 2011. "Age at Preschool Entrance and Noncognitive Skills before School - An Instrumental Variable Approach," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 112, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  2. Núria Rodríquez-Planas, 2010. "Longer-term Impacts of Mentoring, Educational Services, and Incentives to Learn: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in the United States," Working Papers 449, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Barón, Juan D. & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2010. "Are Young People's Educational Outcomes Linked to their Sense of Control?," IZA Discussion Papers 4907, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2010. "Longer-Term Impacts of Mentoring, Educational Services, and Incentives to Learn: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 4754, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Grönqvist, Erik & Öckert, Björn & Vlachos, Jonas, 2010. "The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities," CEPR Discussion Papers 7908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Elke Lüdemann, 2011. "Schooling and the Formation of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Outcomes," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 39.

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