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Does Class Size Affect Student 'Grit'? Evidence from a Randomised Experiment in Early Grades

Listed author(s):
  • Jana Gross

    ()

    (ETH Zurich)

  • Simone Balestra

    ()

    (University of St. Gallen)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

The increasing recognition of non-cognitive skills has led many researchers to investigate how educational practices enhance these skills. In this paper, we focus on the non-cognitive skill known as 'grit', and we study the relation between class size and grit in early grades. Using data from follow-up surveys of Project STAR, we show that fourth-grade pupils who experienced small classes during early grades are 0.12 standard deviations higher in grit than their peers in regular classes. Sub-sample analysis reveals that particularly boys and non-white pupils increase their grit in smaller classes. We also show that grit matters, because half of the effect of smaller classes on test scores entirely operates through grit.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0129_lhwpaper.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW) in its series Economics of Education Working Paper Series with number 0129.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2017
Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0129
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  1. James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-2086, October.
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  3. Krueger, Alan B & Whitmore, Diane M, 2001. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 1-28, January.
  4. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
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  16. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  17. Christopher Jepsen & Steven Rivkin, 2009. "Class Size Reduction and Student Achievement: The Potential Tradeoff between Teacher Quality and Class Size," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  18. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
  19. Elder, Todd E., 2010. "The importance of relative standards in ADHD diagnoses: Evidence based on exact birth dates," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 641-656, September.
  20. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
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