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A regression discontinuity analysis of graduation standards and their impact on students’ academic trajectories

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  • Ahn, Tom

Abstract

In 2006, North Carolina put in place high school exit standards requiring students to pass a series of high-stakes exams across several years. I use a regression discontinuity (RD) approach to analyze whether passing or failing one of these exams (Algebra I) impacts a student's decision between choosing a more rigorous college-preparatory math curriculum and an easier ‘career’ track math curriculum. I find a 5 percentage point gap in the probability of selecting the rigorous curriculum between 9th grade students who just passed and those who just failed the exam. RD results across two years (one year in which the graduation standards were not in place) suggest that the discontinuity arose due to fewer students opting into the college track as a result of the exam results.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:64-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.11.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
    3. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    4. Ludger Wöbmann & Elke Lüdemann & Gabriela Schütz & Martin R. West, 2007. "School Accountability, Autonomy, Choice, and the Level of Student Achievement: International Evidence from PISA 2003," OECD Education Working Papers 13, OECD Publishing.
    5. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
    6. Matsudaira, Jordan D., 2008. "Mandatory summer school and student achievement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 829-850, February.
    7. John P. Papay & John B. Willett & Richard J. Murnane, 2011. "High-School Exit Examinations and the Schooling Decisions of Teenagers: A Multi-Dimensional Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 17112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Bishop, John H. & Mane, Ferran, 2001. "The impacts of minimum competency exam graduation requirements on high school graduation, college attendance and early labor market success," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 203-222, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
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    Citations

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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. Shao-Hsun Keng, 2016. "The Effect of a Stricter Academic Dismissal Policy on Course Selection, Student Effort, and Grading Leniency," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(2), pages 203-224, Spring.
    3. Thomas Ahn & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2014. "When Incentives Matter Too Much: Explaining Significant Responses to Irrelevant Information," NBER Working Papers 20321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Exit standards; Academic trajectory; Regression discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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