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To Leave or Not to Leave? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of the Impact of Failing High School Exit Exam

  • Dongshu Ou

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 effect of failing the HSEE on the likelihood that a student drops out early based on a Regression Discontinuity design. It shows that students who barely fail the exam are more likely to exit than those who barely pass despite being offered retest opportunities. The discontinuity amounts to a large proportion of the dropout probability of barely-failers, particularly for minority and low-income students, suggesting that the potential benefit of raising educational standards might come at the cost of increasing inequalities in the educational system.

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp107.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0107.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0107
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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  1. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
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