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School enrollment, selection and test scores

Author

Listed:
  • Filmer, Deon
  • Schady, Norbert

Abstract

There is a strong association between schooling attained and test scores in many settings. If this association is causal, one might expect that programs that increase school enrollment and attainment would also improve test scores. However, if there is self-selection into school based on expected gains, marginal children brought into school by such programs may be drawn disproportionately from the left-hand side of the ability distribution, which could limit the extent to which additional schooling translates into more learning. To test this proposition, this paper uses data from Cambodia. The results show that a program that provides scholarships to poor students had a large effect on school enrollment and attendance, which increased by approximately 25 percentage points. However, there is no evidence that, 18 months after the scholarships were awarded, recipient children did any better on mathematics and vocabulary tests than they would have in the absence of the program. The paper discusses results that suggest that the self-selection of lower-ability students into school in response to the program is an important part of the explanation. The analysis also shows minimal program effects on other outcomes, including knowledge of health practices, expectations about the future, and adolescent mental health.

Suggested Citation

  • Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "School enrollment, selection and test scores," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4998, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4998
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. CCTs usually increase schooling but few studies have found gains in test scores – what’s behind this disconnect?
      by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2012-04-11 18:28:51

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2011. "Does more cash in conditional cash transfer programs always lead to larger impacts on school attendance?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 150-157, September.
    2. repec:eee:wodepe:v:6:y:2017:i:c:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Harold Alderman & Ruslan Yemtsov, 2014. "How Can Safety Nets Contribute to Economic Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20.
    4. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury, 2013. "Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349," Working Papers 349, Center for Global Development.
    5. Sarah Baird & Ephraim Chirwa & Craig McIntosh & Berk Özler, 2010. "The short‐term impacts of a schooling conditional cash transfer program on the sexual behavior of young women," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(S1), pages 55-68, September.
    6. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "More Schooling and More Learning?: Effects of a Three-Year Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Nicaragua after 10 Years," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4584, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Monica J. Grant, 2015. "The Demographic Promise of Expanded Female Education: Trends in the Age at First Birth in Malawi," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(3), pages 409-438, September.
    8. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:498-517 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Harold Alderman, 2011. "No Small Matter : The Impact of Poverty, Shocks, and Human Capital Investments in Early Childhood Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2266, September.
    10. repec:eee:cysrev:v:82:y:2017:i:c:p:87-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Baez, Javier E. & Camacho, Adriana, 2011. "Assessing the Long-term Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Human Capital: Evidence from Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 5751, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Akresh, Richard & de Walque, Damien & Kazianga, Harounan, 2013. "Cash transfers and child schooling : evidence from a randomized evaluation of the role of conditionality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6340, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tertiary Education; Education For All; Primary Education; Teaching and Learning; Secondary Education;

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