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The causal effects of increased learning intensity on student achievement: Evidence from a natural experiment

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  • Andrietti, Vincenzo

Abstract

I exploit a unique educational policy - implemented in most German states between 2001 and 2007 - that reduced high school duration by one year while keeping its curriculum unaltered to investigate how the resulting increase in learning intensity affected student achievement. Using 2000-2009 PISA data and a difference-in-differences approach, I find robust evidence that the reform significantly improved the reading, mathematics, and science literacy skills acquired by academic-track high school students upon treatment. A more direct estimate of the effects of the increased learning intensity - as measured by the cumulative weekly number of instructional hours delivered in high school grades - corroborates the latter finding. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the effects of the reform differ by gender and grade retention. Finally, I find no evidence of a significant average effect of the reform on high school grade retention, although I do find that the latter increased significantly for boys and for students with a migration background.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2015. "The causal effects of increased learning intensity on student achievement: Evidence from a natural experiment," EconStor Preprints 120874, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:esprep:120874
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/120874/3/wp1506.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    2. Agüero, Jorge M. & Beleche, Trinidad, 2013. "Test-Mex: Estimating the effects of school year length on student performance in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 353-361.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2018. "Learning intensity effects in students’ mental and physical health – Evidence from a large scale natural experiment in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 216-234.
    2. Obergruber, Natalie & Zierow, Larissa, 2020. "Students’ behavioural responses to a fallback option - Evidence from introducing interim degrees in german schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    3. Dahmann, Sarah C., 2017. "How does education improve cognitive skills? Instructional time versus timing of instruction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 35-47.
    4. Oikawa, Masato & Tanaka, Ryuichi & Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Noguchi, Haruko, 2020. "Do Class Size Reductions Protect Students from Infectious Disease? Lessons for COVID-19 Policy from Flu Epidemic in Tokyo Metropolitan Area," IZA Discussion Papers 13432, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Motegi, Hiroyuki & Oikawa, Masato, 2019. "The effect of instructional quality on student achievement: Evidence from Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    G8; Learning intensity; Instructional hours; Student achievement; Academic-track high school; Difference-in-Differences;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation

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