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Should we increase instruction time in low achieving schools? Evidence from Southern Italy

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  • Battistin, Erich
  • Meroni, Elena Claudia

Abstract

This paper investigates the short term effects of a large scale intervention, funded by the European Social Fund, which provides additional instruction time to selected classes of lower secondary schools in Southern Italy. Selection is addressed using institutional rules that regulate class formation: first year students are divided into groups distinguished by letters, they remain in the same group across grades at the school, and the composition of teachers assigned to groups is stable over time. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we consider consecutive cohorts of first year students enrolled in the same group. We compare participating groups to non-participating groups within the same school, as well as to groups in non-participating schools. We find that the intervention raised scores in mathematics for students from the least advantaged backgrounds. We also find that targeting the best students with extra activities in language comes at the cost of lowering performance in mathematics. We go beyond average effects, finding that the positive effect for mathematics is driven by larger effects for the best students.

Suggested Citation

  • Battistin, Erich & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2016. "Should we increase instruction time in low achieving schools? Evidence from Southern Italy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 39-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:55:y:2016:i:c:p:39-56
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.08.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Cattan, Sarah & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2017. "The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10995, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Berthelon, Matias & Kruger, Diana & Vienne, Veronica, 2016. "Longer School Schedules and Early Reading Skills: Effects from a Full-Day School Reform in Chile," IZA Discussion Papers 10282, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Huebener, Mathias & Kuger, Susanne & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Increased instruction hours and the widening gap in student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-34.
    4. Battistin, Erich & De Nadai, Michele & Vuri, Daniela, 2017. "Counting rotten apples: Student achievement and score manipulation in Italian elementary Schools," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 200(2), pages 344-362.
    5. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2017. "The long-term effects of long terms: Compulsory schooling reforms in Sweden," Ruhr Economic Papers 733, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2016. "The Sooner the Better? Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10430, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Bingley, Paul & Heinesen, Eskil & Krassel, Karl Fritjof & Kristensen, Nicolai, 2018. "The Timing of Instruction Time: Accumulated Hours, Timing and Pupil Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 11807, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Alessandro Belmonte & Vincenzo Bove & Giovanna D’Inverno & Marco Modica, 2017. "School Infrastructure Spending and Educational Outcomes in Northern Italy," SPRU Working Paper Series 2017-20, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    9. Erich Battistin & Antonio Schizzerotto, 2019. "Threat of grade retention, remedial education and student achievement: evidence from upper secondary schools in Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 651-678, February.
    10. Michael Doersam & Verena Lauber, 2019. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Performance," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2019-03, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    11. Dörsam, Michael & Lauber, Verena, 2015. "The Effect of a Compressed High School Curriculum on University Performance," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 140876, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Motegi, Hiroyuki & Oikawa, Masato, 2019. "The effect of instructional quality on student achievement: Evidence from Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    13. Elena Claudia Meroni & Giovanni Abbiati, 2014. "Gender differences in exposure to more instruction time. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 064, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    14. Delprato, Marcos & Chudgar, Amita, 2018. "Factors associated with private-public school performance: Analysis of TALIS-PISA link data," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 155-172.
    15. Figlio, David & Holden, Kristian L. & Ozek, Umut, 2018. "Do students benefit from longer school days? Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida's additional hour of literacy instruction," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 171-183.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational economics; Instruction time; Policy evaluation; Quantile treatment effects;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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