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School enrollment, selection and test scores

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Author Info

  • Filmer, Deon
  • Schady, Norbert

Abstract

There is a strong association between schooling attained and test scores in many settings. If this association is causal, one might expect that programs that increase school enrollment and attainment would also improve test scores. However, if there is self-selection into school based on expected gains, marginal children brought into school by such programs may be drawn disproportionately from the left-hand side of the ability distribution, which could limit the extent to which additional schooling translates into more learning. To test this proposition, this paper uses data from Cambodia. The results show that a program that provides scholarships to poor students had a large effect on school enrollment and attendance, which increased by approximately 25 percentage points. However, there is no evidence that, 18 months after the scholarships were awarded, recipient children did any better on mathematics and vocabulary tests than they would have in the absence of the program. The paper discusses results that suggest that the self-selection of lower-ability students into school in response to the program is an important part of the explanation. The analysis also shows minimal program effects on other outcomes, including knowledge of health practices, expectations about the future, and adolescent mental health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4998.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4998

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Related research

Keywords: Tertiary Education; Education For All; Primary Education; Teaching and Learning; Secondary Education;

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. CCTs usually increase schooling but few studies have found gains in test scores – what’s behind this disconnect?
    by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2012-04-11 13:28:51
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Cited by:
  1. Sarah Baird & Ephraim Chirwa & Craig McIntosh & Berk Özler, 2010. "The short‐term impacts of a schooling conditional cash transfer program on the sexual behavior of young women," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(S1), pages 55-68, September.
  2. Baez, Javier E. & Camacho, Adriana, 2011. "Assessing the long-term effects of conditional cash transfers on human capital : evidence from Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5681, The World Bank.
  3. Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2011. "Does more cash in conditional cash transfer programs always lead to larger impacts on school attendance?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 150-157, September.

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