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The impact of tougher education standards: Evidence from Florida

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  • Clark, Damon
  • See, Edward

Abstract

Many of the policies that fall under the school accountability umbrella are designed to incentivize students. Prominent among these are high school exit exams, standardized tests that, in some states, students must pass to earn a high school diploma. Proponents of these tests argue that by incentivizing students, they induce them to work harder and, therefore, improve their high school performance and, perhaps, longer-run outcomes; some of these proponents argue that these exams would be even more helpful if they were set at a higher standard. Critics worry that these exams prevent some students from graduating and cause others to dropout; they contend that these effects are worse if standards are higher. In this paper we investigate the impacts of an increase in the exit exam standard in Florida. Using difference-in-difference methods, we show that this had few of the negative effects claimed by critics. We cannot detect any positive effects of the higher standard, although such effects may be too small to be picked up with our data.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:1123-1135
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2011.05.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
    2. Paco Martorell & Damon Clark, 2010. "The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma," Working Papers 1248, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Betts, Julian R, 1998. "The Impact of Educational Standards on the Level and Distribution of Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 266-275, March.
    4. 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.
    5. John P. Papay & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2008. "The Consequences of High School Exit Examinations for Struggling Low-Income Urban Students: Evidence from Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 14186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Tyler, John H., 2004. "Basic skills and the earnings of dropouts," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 221-235, June.
    7. Paco Martorell & Damon Clark, 2010. "The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma," Working Papers 1248, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Costrell, Robert M, 1994. "A Simple Model of Educational Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 956-971, September.
    9. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. 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).
    3. Dickson, Matt & Harmon, Colm, 2011. "Economic returns to education: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and Where We Are Going—Some brief pointers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1118-1122.
    4. Michaelis, Jochen & Schwanebeck, Benjamin, 2016. "Examination rules and student effort," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 65-68.
    5. 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.
    6. Zhuang Hao & Benjamin W. Cowan, 2017. "The Effects of Graduation Requirements on Risky Health Behaviors of High School Students," NBER Working Papers 23803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic impact; Human capital; Productivity; Rate of return;

    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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