IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/tpr/edfpol/v12y2017i3p312-341.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Don't Hold Back? The Effect of Grade Retention on Student Achievement

Author

Listed:
  • Ron Diris

    (Department of Economics Maastricht University 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands)

Abstract

This study analyzes the effect of age-based retention on school achievement at different stages of education. I estimate an instrumental variable model, using the predicted probability of retention given month of birth as an instrument, while simultaneously accounting for the effect of month of birth on maturity at the time of testing. The analysis further assesses heterogeneity in retention effects by achievement, by background characteristics, and by type of skill. Using international data from multiple waves of the PISA international assessment test, I find that grade retention in primary school harms student achievement across the distribution, while delayed school entry can produce positive results for those at the lower end. The identified local average treatment effect indicates that letting students retain in primary school because of a low relative age is harmful for their future school achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Diris, 2017. "Don't Hold Back? The Effect of Grade Retention on Student Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(3), pages 312-341, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:12:y:2017:i:3:p:312-341
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/EDFP_a_00203
    Download Restriction: Access to PDF is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    2. Alberto Abadie & Joshua Angrist & Guido Imbens, 2002. "Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Effect of Subsidized Training on the Quantiles of Trainee Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 91-117, January.
    3. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R. & Winters, Marcus A., 2017. "The effects of test-based retention on student outcomes over time: Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 154-169.
    4. Kasey S. Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2013. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 711-724, July.
    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. Marcus A. Winters & Jay P. Greene, 2012. "The Medium-Run Effects of Florida’s Test-Based Promotion Policy," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(3), pages 305-330, July.
    7. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2009. "The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 33-58, July.
    8. Marco Manacorda, 2012. "The Cost of Grade Retention," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 596-606, May.
    9. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    10. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2001. "The effect of grade retention on educational and labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 563-576, December.
    11. J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo & J. Antonio Robles-Zurita, 2011. "Does grade retention affect achievement? Some evidence from Pisa," Working Papers 2011/37, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    12. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    13. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 697-812, Elsevier.
    14. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2006. "The Persistence of Early Childhood Maturity: International Evidence of Long-Run Age Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1437-1472.
    15. Philip Babcock & Kelly Bedard, 2011. "The Wages of Failure: New Evidence on School Retention and Long-Run Outcomes," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(3), pages 293-322, July.
    16. J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo & J. Antonio Robles-Zurita, 2011. "Does grade retention affect achievement? Some evidence from PISA," Working Papers 11.09, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    17. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth & Salvador Navarro & Yuya Takahashi, 2016. "How the Timing of Grade Retention Affects Outcomes: Identification and Estimation of Time-Varying Treatment Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 979-1021.
    18. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    19. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    20. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, January.
    21. Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, 2007. "Revisiting Grade Retention: An Evaluation of Florida's Test-Based Promotion Policy," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 319-340, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Javier Valbuena & Mauro Mediavilla & Álvaro Choi & María Gil, 2021. "Effects Of Grade Retention Policies: A Literature Review Of Empirical Studies Applying Causal Inference," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 408-451, April.
    2. Victoria Nevin Locke & P. Johnelle Sparks, 2019. "Who Gets Held Back? An Analysis of Grade Retention Using Stratified Frailty Models," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 38(5), pages 695-731, October.
    3. Wessling, Katarina & van der Velden, Rolf, 2021. "Flexibility in educational systems - Concept, indicators, and directions for future research," Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    4. Alar Urruticoechea & Andrés Oliveri & Elena Vernazza & Marta Giménez-Dasí & Rosario Martínez-Arias & Javier Martín-Babarro, 2021. "The Relative Age Effects in Educational Development: A Systematic Review," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(17), pages 1-12, August.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Javier Valbuena & Mauro Mediavilla & Álvaro Choi & María Gil, 2021. "Effects Of Grade Retention Policies: A Literature Review Of Empirical Studies Applying Causal Inference," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 408-451, April.
    2. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R. & Winters, Marcus A., 2017. "The effects of test-based retention on student outcomes over time: Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 154-169.
    3. Emilio Borghesan & Hugo Reis & Petra E. Todd, 2022. "Learning Through Repetition? A Dynamic Evaluation of Grade Retention in Portugal," PIER Working Paper Archive 22-030, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Baert, Stijn & Picchio, Matteo, 2021. "A signal of (Train)ability? Grade repetition and hiring chances," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 867-878.
    5. Robert J. Gary‐Bobo & Marion Goussé & Jean‐Marc Robin, 2016. "Grade retention and unobserved heterogeneity," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(3), pages 781-820, November.
    6. Luke C. Miller & Daphna Bassok, 2019. "The Effects of Universal Preschool on Grade Retention," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 14(2), pages 149-177, Spring.
    7. Marion Gousse, 2014. "Marriage Market and Intra-Household Allocation. Essays in Economics of Family and Education," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6tve7u8o9k9, Sciences Po.
    8. Zhang, Shiying & Huang, Ao, 2022. "The long-term effects of automatic grade promotion on child development," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    9. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth & Salvador Navarro & Yuya Takahashi, 2016. "How the Timing of Grade Retention Affects Outcomes: Identification and Estimation of Time-Varying Treatment Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 979-1021.
    10. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education,, Elsevier.
    11. Marion Gousse, 2014. "Marriage Market and Intra-Household Allocation. Essays in Economics of Family and Education," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6tve7u8o9k9, Sciences Po.
    12. Eren, Ozkan & Depew, Briggs & Barnes, Stephen, 2017. "Test-based promotion policies, dropping out, and juvenile crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 9-31.
    13. Agasisti, Tommaso & Cordero, Jose M., 2017. "The determinants of repetition rates in Europe: Early skills or subsequent parents’ help?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 129-146.
    14. Hill, Andrew J., 2014. "The costs of failure: Negative externalities in high school course repetition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-105.
    15. Mohamed-Badrane Mahjoub, 2017. "The treatment effect of grade repetitions," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(4), pages 418-432, July.
    16. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 516-539, March.
    17. Martin Schlotter, 2012. "Educational Production in Preschools and Schools - Microeconometric Evidence from Germany," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 41.
    18. Kaestner, Robert, 2016. "Do `Skills Beget Skills'? Evidence on the effect of kindergarten entrance age on the evolution of cognitive and non-cognitive skill gaps in childhoodAuthor-Name: Lubotsky, Darren," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 194-206.
    19. Ferreira Sequeda, Maria & Golsteyn, Bart & Parra Cely, Sergio, 2018. "The effect of grade retention on secondary school performance: Evidence from a natural experiment," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    20. Bach, Maximilian, 2019. "Strategic grade retention," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-059, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:12:y:2017:i:3:p:312-341. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://direct.mit.edu/journals .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Ann Olson (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://direct.mit.edu/journals .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.