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An econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression in post-reform Italian Universities

  • G. Boero

    ()

  • T. Laureti
  • R. Naylor

    ()

As in much of Europe, and in the particular context of the Bologna Convention on tertiary education, the Italian university system has experienced substantial reform in recent years, the major aims of which include increasing the participation, progression and retention rates of students in higher education. Reform has reduced the length of undergraduate degree programmes to three years with the intention that students should be able to graduate at an earlier age than in the past, in line with graduates from other European countries. This paper offers a first econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression three years after the introduction of major reform. We use administrative data on students of two Italian universities in a probit model of the probability that the student drops out, and an OLS model of student progression. Our analyses suggest that, notwithstanding the reforms, the drop-out (withdrawal) rate is still very high and only a small proportion of students are likely to complete their studies within the institutional time. In particular, we find that differences in students’ prior educational background and performance have remarkably large effects on their withdrawal and progression probabilities. We infer from our results that poor retention and completion rates of Italian university students are unlikely to improve without further significant institutional change.

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Paper provided by Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia in its series Working Paper CRENoS with number 200504.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:200504
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  1. L. Biggeri & M. Bini & L. Grilli, 2001. "The transition from university to work: a multilevel approach to the analysis of the time to obtain the first job," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 164(2), pages 293-305.
  2. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2001. " Determinants of Degree Performance in UK Universities: A Statistical Analysis of the 1993 Student Cohort," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 29-60, February.
  3. Arulampalam, Wiji & Naylor, Robin A. & Smith, Jeremy P., 2005. "Effects of in-class variation and student rank on the probability of withdrawal: cross-section and time-series analysis for UK university students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 251-262, June.
  4. McNabb, Robert & Pal, Sarmistha & Sloane, Peter, 2002. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: The Case of University Students in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(275), pages 481-503, August.
  5. G. Boero & A. Mcknight & R. Naylor & J. Smith, 2001. "Graduates and graduate labour markets in the UK and Italy," Working Paper CRENoS 200111, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  6. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
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