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The Impact of Alternative Grade Configurations on Student Outcomes through Middle and High School

Author

Listed:
  • Guido Schwerdt
  • Martin R. West

Abstract

We use statewide administrative data from Florida to estimate the impact of attending public schools with different grade configurations on student achievement through grade 10. To identify the causal effect of structural school transitions, we use student fixed effects and instrument for middle and high school attendance based on the terminal grade of the school attended in grades 3 and 6, respectively. Consistent with recent evidence from other settings, we find that students moving from elementary to middle school in grade 6 or 7 suffer a sharp drop in student achievement in the transition year. We confirm that these achievement drops occur in nonurban areas and persist through grade 10, by which time most students have transitioned into high school. We also find that middle school entry increases student absences and is associated with higher grade 10 dropout rates. Transitions to high school in grade nine cause a smaller one-time drop in achievement but do not alter students’ performance trajectories.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Schwerdt & Martin R. West, 2011. "The Impact of Alternative Grade Configurations on Student Outcomes through Middle and High School," CESifo Working Paper Series 3530, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3530
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Dunn, Richard A. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Thomsen, Michael & Heather L. Rouse, 2014. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Fast-Food Exposure On Child Weight Outcomes: Identifying Causality Through School Transitions," Working Papers 34, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    3. Zeng, Di & Thomsen, Michael R. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Rouse, Heather L., 2016. "Middle school transition and body weight outcomes: Evidence from Arkansas Public Schoolchildren," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 64-74.
    4. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2014. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," PSE Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
    5. Goodman, Joshua, 2012. "Gold Standards?: State Standards Reform and Student Achievement," Working Paper Series rwp12-031, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 370-422, June.
    7. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2014. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    educational production; public schools; grade configuration; middle schools; high schools;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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