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Classroom Grade Composition and Pupil Achievement

  • Leuven, Edwin


    (University of Oslo)

  • Rønning, Marte


    (Statistics Norway)

This paper exploits discontinuous grade mixing rules in Norwegian junior high schools to estimate how classroom grade composition affects pupil achievement. Pupils in mixed grade classrooms are found to outperform pupils in single grade classrooms on high stake central exit tests and teacher set and graded tests. This effect is driven by pupils benefiting from sharing the classroom with more mature peers from higher grades. The presence of lower grade peers is detrimental for achievement. Pupils can therefore benefit from de-tracking by grade, but the effects depend crucially on how the classroom is balanced in terms of lower and higher grades. These results reconcile the contradictory findings in the literature.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5922.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2014, [Online First]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5922
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Victor Lavy & Analía Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," NBER Working Papers 13292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Haegeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2008. "Pennies from Heaven? Using Exogeneous Tax Variation to Identify Effects of School Resources on Pupil Achievements," IZA Discussion Papers 3561, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2013. "Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 119 - 153.
  5. David Sims, 2008. "A strategic response to class size reduction: Combination classes and student achievement in California," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 457-478.
  6. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  7. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
  8. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-74, August.
  9. Miguel Urquiola & Eric Verhoogen, 2009. "Class-Size Caps, Sorting, and the Regression-Discontinuity Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 179-215, March.
  10. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2009. "The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools," NBER Working Papers 15600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2008. "Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 14415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Rønning, Marte, 2008. "Quasi-Experimental Estimates of the Effect of Class Size on Achievement in Norway," IZA Discussion Papers 3474, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:175-214 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, 07.
  15. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2011. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Lucas Critique Meets Peer Effects," NBER Working Papers 16865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Fredriksson, Peter & Öckert, Björn, 2005. "Is Early Learning Really More Productive? The Effect of School Starting Age on School and Labor Market Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Aaron Sojourner, . "Inference on Peer Effects with Missing Peer Data: Evidence from Project STAR," Working Papers 0109, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  18. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  19. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2012. "Inside the Black Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 208-237, 03.
  20. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:2:p:497-532 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Leuven, Edwin & Lindahl, Mikael & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Webbink, Dinand, 2010. "Expanding schooling opportunities for 4-year-olds," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 319-328, June.
  22. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
  23. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:2:p:533-575 is not listed on IDEAS
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