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The Effects of Test-based Retention on Student Outcomes over Time: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida

Author

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  • Schwerdt, Guido

    () (University of Konstanz)

  • West, Martin R.

    () (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Abstract

A growing number of American states require that students who do not demonstrate basic reading proficiency at the end of third grade be retained and provided with remedial services. We exploit a discontinuity in the probability of third grade retention under Florida's test-based promotion policy to study the causal effect of retention on student outcomes over time. Although conventional OLS estimates suggest negative effects of retention on achievement, regression discontinuity estimates indicate large positive effects on achievement and a reduced probability of retention in subsequent years. The achievement gains from test-based retention fade out over time, however, and are statistically insignificant after six years.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R., 2013. "The Effects of Test-based Retention on Student Outcomes over Time: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida," IZA Discussion Papers 7314, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7314
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    1. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:12:y:2017:i:3:p:312-341 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:pubeco:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:9-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:154-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Youth Unemployment in Belgium: Diagnosis and Key Remedies," IZA Policy Papers 66, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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, pages 154-169.
    6. Leighton, Margaret & Souza, Priscila & Straub, Stéphane, 2016. "Social Promotion in Primary School: Immediate and Cumulated Effects on Attainment," TSE Working Papers 16-649, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    7. Tafreschi, Darjusch & Thiemann, Petra, 2016. "Doing it twice, getting it right? The effects of grade retention and course repetition in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 198-219.
    8. Eren, Ozkan & Depew, Briggs & Barnes, Stephen, 2017. "Test-based promotion policies, dropping out, and juvenile crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 9-31.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    educational production; public schools; grade retention;

    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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