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A Bridge to Graduation: Post-secondary Effects of an Alternative Pathway for Students Who Fail High School Exit Exams

Author

Listed:
  • Lincove, Jane Arnold

    (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Mata, Catherine

    (University of Maryland)

  • Cortes, Kalena E.

    (Texas A&M University)

Abstract

High school exit exams are meant to standardize the quality of public high schools and to ensure that students graduate with a set of basic skills and knowledge. Evidence suggests that a common perverse effect of exit exams is an increase in dropout for students who have difficulty passing tests, with a larger effect on minority students. To mitigate this, some states offer alternative, non-tested pathways to graduation for students who have failed their exit exams. This study investigates the post-secondary effects of an alternative high school graduation program. Among students who initially fail an exit exam, those who eventually graduate through an alternative project-based pathway have lower college enrollment, but similar employment outcomes to students who graduate by retaking and passing their exit exams. Compared to similar students who fail to complete high school, those students who take the alternative pathway have better post-secondary outcomes in both education and employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Lincove, Jane Arnold & Mata, Catherine & Cortes, Kalena E., 2022. "A Bridge to Graduation: Post-secondary Effects of an Alternative Pathway for Students Who Fail High School Exit Exams," IZA Discussion Papers 15067, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15067
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    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp15067.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), 2011. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 4, December.
    2. Ou, Dongshu, 2010. "To leave or not to leave? A regression discontinuity analysis of the impact of failing the high school exit exam," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 171-186, April.
    3. Steven W. Hemelt & Dave E. Marcotte, 2013. "High School Exit Exams and Dropout in an Era of Increased Accountability," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(2), pages 323-349, March.
    4. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    5. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Paul A. LaFontaine & Pedro L. Rodríguez, 2012. "Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 495-520.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    high school exit exams; high school graduation; post-secondary education; labor market outcomes; employment; earnings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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