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To leave or not to leave? A regression discontinuity analysis of the impact of failing the high school exit exam

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  • Ou, Dongshu

Abstract

The high school exit exam (HSEE) is rapidly becoming a standardized assessment procedure for educational accountability in the United States. I use a unique, state-specific dataset to identify the effects of failing the HSEE on the likelihood of dropping out of high school based on a regression discontinuity design. The analysis shows that students who barely failed the exam were more likely to exit than those who barely passed, despite being offered retest opportunities. The discontinuity amounts to a large proportion of the dropout probability of barely failers, particularly for limited-English-proficiency, racial-minority, and low-income students, suggesting that the potential benefit of raising educational standards might come at the cost of increasing inequality in the educational system.

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  • Ou, Dongshu, 2010. "To leave or not to leave? A regression discontinuity analysis of the impact of failing the high school exit exam," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 171-186, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:2:p:171-186
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    Cited by:

    1. Jason M. Lindo & Nicholas J. Sanders & Philip Oreopoulos, 2010. "Ability, Gender, and Performance Standards: Evidence from Academic Probation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 95-117, April.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & Martina Viarengo, 2014. "School and family effects on educational outcomes across countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 29(79), pages 395-446, July.
    3. Steven F. Koch & Jeffrey S. Racine, 2016. "Healthcare facility choice and user fee abolition: regression discontinuity in a multinomial choice setting," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(4), pages 927-950, October.
    4. Papay, John P. & Willett, John B. & Murnane, Richard J., 2011. "Extending the regression-discontinuity approach to multiple assignment variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 203-207, April.
    5. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    6. Clark, Damon & See, Edward, 2011. "The impact of tougher education standards: Evidence from Florida," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1123-1135.
    7. Aslund, Olof & Grönqvist, Hans & Hall, Caroline & Vlachos, Jonas, 2015. "Education and Criminal Behavior: Insights from an Expansion of Upper Secondary School," IZA Discussion Papers 9374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Thomas S. Dee & Will Dobbie & Brian A. Jacob & Jonah Rockoff, 2016. "The Causes and Consequences of Test Score Manipulation: Evidence from the New York Regents Examinations," NBER Working Papers 22165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Katherine Caves & Simone Balestra, 2014. "The Impact of High School Exit Exams on Graduation Rates and Achievement," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0123, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    10. Whitaker, Stephan, 2011. "The impact of legalized abortion on high school graduation through selection and composition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-246, April.
    11. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2014. "The Short-term Effectiveness of a Remedial Mathematics Course: Evidence from a UK University," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 363-384, June.
    12. Marcotte, Dave E., 2013. "High school dropout and teen childbearing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 258-268.
    13. Ahn, Tom, 2014. "A regression discontinuity analysis of graduation standards and their impact on students’ academic trajectories," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 64-75.
    14. Stefanie Dufaux, 2012. "Assessment for Qualification and Certification in Upper Secondary Education: A Review of Country Practices and Research Evidence," OECD Education Working Papers 83, OECD Publishing.
    15. Tafreschi, Darjusch & Thiemann, Petra, 2016. "Doing it twice, getting it right? The effects of grade retention and course repetition in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 198-219.
    16. Lee, Kyung-Gon & Polachek, Solomon, 2014. "Do School Budgets Matter? The Effect of Budget Referenda on Student Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    High school exit exam Student dropout Regression discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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