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Educational Reform and Disadvantaged Students: Are They Better Off or Worse Off?

  • John Bishop
  • Ferran Mane

This paper analyzes the effects of increased academic standards on both average achievement levels and on equality of opportunity. The five policies evaluated are: (1) universal Curriculum-Based External Exit Exam Systems, (2) voluntary curriculum-based external exit exam systems with partial coverage such as New York State Regents exams in 1992, (3) state minimum competency graduation tests, (4) state defined minimums for the total number of courses students must take and pass to get a high school diploma and (5) state defined minimums for the number of academic courses necessary to get a diploma. We use international data to evaluate the effects of CBEEES. High school graduation standards differ a lot across states in the U.S. This allowed us to measure policy effects on student achievement and labor market success after high school by comparing states in a multiple regression framework.Our analysis shows that only two of the policies examined deliver on increasing everyone’s achievement and also reduce achievement gaps: universal CBEEES and higher academic course graduation requirements. Other policies were less successful in raising achievement and enhancing equality of opportunity.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1309.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1309
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  1. Becker, William E. & Rosen, Sherwin, 1992. "The learning effect of assessment and evaluation in high school," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 107-118, June.
  2. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2000. "Do High Grading Standards Affect Student Performance?," NBER Working Papers 7985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bishop, John H. & Mane, Ferran, 2004. "The impacts of career-technical education on high school labor market success," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 381-402, August.
  4. Ludger Woessmann, 2003. "Central Exams as the "Currency" of School Systems: International Evidence on the Complementarity of School Autonomy and Central Exams," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(4), pages 46-56, 02.
  5. Costrell, Robert M., 1997. "Can centralized educational standards raise welfare?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 271-293, September.
  6. Hanushek, E.A.omson, W., 1996. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance : An Update," RCER Working Papers 424, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Lillard, Dean R. & DeCicca, Philip P., 2001. "Higher standards, more dropouts? Evidence within and across time," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 459-473, October.
  8. Ludger Woesmann, 2003. "Schooling Resources, Educational Institutions and Student Performance: the International Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(2), pages 117-170, 05.
  9. Costrell, Robert M, 1994. "A Simple Model of Educational Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 956-71, September.
  10. John Bishop & Ferran Mane, 2005. "Raising academic standards and vocational concentrators: Are they better off or worse off?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 171-187.
  11. 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 266-75, March.
  12. Bishop, John H. & Moriarty, Joan Y. & Mane, Ferran, 2000. "Diplomas for learning, not seat time: the impacts of New York Regents examinations," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 333-349, October.
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