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Should We Increase Instruction Time in Low Achieving Schools? Evidence from Southern Italy

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Author Info

  • Battistin, Erich

    ()
    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Meroni, Elena Claudia

    ()
    (University of Padova)

Abstract

This paper investigates the short term effects of a large scale intervention, funded by the European Social Fund, that provides additional instruction time to students in low achieving lower secondary schools of Southern Italy. We control for sorting across classes using the fact that freshman are divided into groups distinguished by letters, they remain in the same group across grades and the composition of teachers in the school assigned to each group is substantially stable over time. We implement a difference-in-differences strategy, and compare contiguous cohorts of freshman enrolled in the same group. We contrast groups with and without additional instruction time in participating schools, to groups in non-participating schools that we select to be similar with respect to a long list of pre-programme indicators. We find that the programme raised test scores in mathematics in schools characterised by students from less advantaged backgrounds. We also find that targeting the best students with extra activities in Italian language comes at the cost of lowering their performance in mathematics. We go beyond average effects, finding that the positive effect documented for mathematics is driven by larger effects for the best students in the group.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7437.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7437

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Keywords: education policies; instruction time; policy evaluation; quantile treatment effects;

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  1. Dave E. Marcotte & Steven W. Hemelt, 2008. "Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 3(3), pages 316-338, July.
  2. Juan Carlos Calcagno & Bridget Terry Long, 2008. "The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance," NBER Working Papers 14194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Years," IZA Discussion Papers 874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Is universal child care leveling the playing field?," Discussion Papers 774, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  9. Sims, David P., 2008. "Strategic responses to school accountability measures: It's all in the timing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 58-68, February.
  10. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
  11. DeCicca, Philip, 2007. "Does full-day kindergarten matter? Evidence from the first two years of schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 67-82, February.
  12. Lee, J.-W. & Barro, R.J., 1998. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," Papers, Harvard - Institute for International Development 659, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  13. Philipp Mandel & Bernd Süssmuth, 2011. "Total Instructional Time Exposure and Student Achievement: An Extreme Bounds Analysis Based on German State-Level Variation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3580, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Bellei, Cristián, 2009. "Does lengthening the school day increase students' academic achievement? Results from a natural experiment in Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 629-640, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Erich Battistin & Michele De Nadai & Daniela Vuri, 2014. "Counting Rotten Apples: Student Achievement and Score Manipulation in Italian Elementary Schools?," CEIS Research Paper 329, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 Sep 2014.

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