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Does Taking One Step Back Get You Two Steps Forward? Grade Retention and School Performance in Rural China

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  • Chen, Xinxin
  • Shi, Yaojiang
  • Rozelle, Scott

Abstract

Abstract: Despite the rise in grade retention in China recently, little work has been done to understand the impact of grade retention on the educational performance of students in China. This paper seeks to redress this shortcoming and examines this impact on 1649 students in 36 elementary schools in Shaanxi province. With a dataset that was collected from a survey designed specifically to capture school performance of students before and after they were retained, we use Difference-in-Difference, Propensity Score Matching and Difference-in-Difference Matching approaches to analyze the effect of grade retention on school performance. Although the descriptive analysis shows that grade retention helps to improve the scores of the students that were retained, somewhat surprisingly, the results from the multivariate analysis consistently show that there is no significant positive effect of grade retention on school performance of the students. In fact, in some cases (e.g., for the students who repeat grade 2), grade retention is shown to hurt school performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 10917.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10917

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Keywords: Educational economics; Human capital;

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  1. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
  3. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  4. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2001. "The effect of grade retention on educational and labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 563-576, December.
  5. Alberto Abadie, 2000. "Semiparametric Estimation of Instrumental Variable Models for Causal Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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