nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒02‒13
ten papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Ability Composition in the Class and the School Performance of Immigrant Students By Elena Meschi; Caterina Pavese
  2. The effects of schooling on cognitive skills: evidence from education expansions. By Lorenzo Cappellari; Daniele Checchi; Marco Ovidi
  3. Making the (Letter) Grade: The Incentive Effects of Mandatory Pass/Fail Courses By Kristin F. Butcher; Patrick McEwan; Akila Weerapana
  4. Does eligibility requirements matter for academic achievements? A quasi-experimental retrospective study of students studying intermediate statistics By Pettersson, Nicklas; Karlsson, Niklas; Andrén, Daniela
  5. Learning Through Repetition? A Dynamic Evaluation of Grade Retention in Portugal By Hugo Reis; Emilio Borghesan; Petra E. Todd
  6. Tuition fees and educational attainment By Bietenbeck, Jan; Leibing, Andreas; Marcus, Jan; Weinhardt, Felix
  7. The Rank of Socioeconomic Status within a Class and the Incidence of School Bullying and School Absence By INOUE Atsushi; TANAKA Ryuichi
  8. School Accountability and Student Achievement: Neighboring schools matter By MOROZUMI Atsuyoshi; TANAKA Ryuichi
  9. Can Maths Apps Add Value to Learning? A Systematic Review By Laura A. Outhwaite; Erin Early; Christothea Herodotou; Jo Van Herwegen
  10. How does testing young children influence educational attainment and well-being? By Colin P. Green; Ole Henning Nyhus; Kari Vea Salvanes

  1. By: Elena Meschi; Caterina Pavese
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data from the Italian National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System (INVALSI), this paper investigates whether the ability of classmates affects the educational attainment of immigrant students. We focus not only on the average quality of peers in the class, but we further investigate which part of the ability distribution of peers drives the effect, by assessing the role played by the extreme tails of the ability distribution. Our empirical strategy addresses students’ endogenous sorting into classes by exploiting the within-student across-subjects variation in achievements and the simultaneity problem by using predetermined measures of peers’ ability. We show that peers’ ability matters. While native students are mostly influenced by the average quality of their peers, immigrant children are detrimentally affected by the fraction of very low achievers in the classroom. Our findings provide valuable guidance to policymakers concerning the allocation of students to classes in order to foster immigrant students’ integration and learning
    Keywords: Peer effects, immigrant students, education
    JEL: J15 I21
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Lorenzo Cappellari (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Daniele Checchi; Marco Ovidi (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: We quantify the causal effect of schooling on cognitive skills across 21 countries and the full distribution of working-age individuals. We exploit exogenous variation in educational attainment induced by a broad set of institutional reforms affecting different cohorts of individuals in different countries. We find a positive effect of an additional year of schooling on internationally-comparable numeracy and literacy scores. We show that the effect is substantially homogeneous by gender and socio-economic background and that it is larger for individuals completing a formal qualification rather than dropping out. Results suggest that early and late school years are the most decisive for cognitive skill development. Exploiting unique survey data on the use of skills, we find suggestive evidence that our result is mediated by access to high-skill jobs.
    Keywords: Cognitive skills, Educational Policies, Returns to schooling.
    JEL: H52 I21 I28
    Date: 2022–12
  3. By: Kristin F. Butcher; Patrick McEwan; Akila Weerapana
    Abstract: In Fall 2014, Wellesley College began mandating pass/fail grading for courses taken by first-year, first-semester students, although instructors continued to record letter grades. We identify the causal effect of the policy on course choice and performance, using a regression-discontinuity-in-time design. Students shifted to lower-grading STEM courses in the first semester, but did not increase their engagement with STEM in later semesters. Letter grades of first-semester students declined by 0.13 grade points, or 23% of a standard deviation. We evaluate causal channels of the grade effect—including sorting into lower-grading STEM courses and declining instructional quality—and conclude that the effect is consistent with declining student effort.
    Keywords: higher education; grading policy
    JEL: I23
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Pettersson, Nicklas (Örebro University School of Business); Karlsson, Niklas (Örebro University School of Business); Andrén, Daniela (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: Student achievements are expected to be affected by both educational activities and learning during a course and previous teaching and learning, and earlier eligibility requirements. Using data from a quasi-experimental retrospective study, we estimated the effect on exam scores in an intermediate course in statistical theory from both earlier eligibility requirements, the realignment of a prerequisite course in introductory statistics and students’ characteristics. We found that success in intermediate statistics was explained by the realignment and eligibility requirements in Mathematics, and also by the intersection between gender and foreign background.
    Keywords: statistics education; aligned course; eligibility requirements; academic evaluation; quasi-experimental retrospective design.
    JEL: A22 I20 I21
    Date: 2023–01–17
  5. By: Hugo Reis; Emilio Borghesan; Petra E. Todd
    Abstract: High grade retention rates are a matter of much worldwide debate. Although some students learn more with extended school time, others get discouraged and drop out. This paper develops and implements a dynamic modeling approach for estimating retention effects in Portuguese high schools where over 40% of students were retained. The estimated model is used to simulate academic achievement under existing and alternative retention policies. Results show that the current policy’s average impact on 12th grade math and Portuguese test scores is positive (0.2-0.5 s.d.), but it substantially increases dropout. We solve for the optimal policy to maximize lifetime earnings.
    JEL: J
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Bietenbeck, Jan; Leibing, Andreas; Marcus, Jan; Weinhardt, Felix
    Abstract: Following a landmark court ruling in 2005, more than half of Germany's universities started charging tuition fees, which were subsequently abolished until 2015. We exploit the unusual lack of grandfathering in these policies to show that fees increase study effort and degree completion among incumbent students. However, fees also decrease first-time university enrollment among high school graduates. Combining this enrollment impact with the effect on completion, we find that fees around the zero-price margin have only little effect on overall educational attainment. We conclude by discussing policies targeting the separate effect margins of fees and caution against a general abolition.
    Keywords: higher education; fees
    JEL: I23 I28
    Date: 2022–03–16
  7. By: INOUE Atsushi; TANAKA Ryuichi
    Abstract: Does the relative wealth of students’ households affect the incidence of risky behaviors of students in school? We estimate the effect of the rank of the socioeconomic status (SES) of the students’ household within a class on the incidence of school bullying and school absence. We exploit the variation of SES rank within a class generated by the almost-random assignment of students to classes. Using the data from middle-school students in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), we find that although the absolute level of SES is negatively associated with these incidences, students with a high SES rank within a class are more likely to be the victims of school bullying and to be absent from school.
    Date: 2023–01
  8. By: MOROZUMI Atsuyoshi; TANAKA Ryuichi
    Abstract: Previous research on school accountability has shown that the disclosure of school-level results of a national standardized student achievement test has a heterogeneous impact on student achievement across schools. This paper, highlighting a type of standardized test that has no stakes for students (called a national assessment), sheds further light on circumstances under which the disclosure of such information has a desirable impact on student learning. Specifically, utilizing an unanticipated disclosure of the school-level results of Japan's national assessment, which occurred only in one prefecture in 2013, and treating schools in other prefectures as a control group, we show that the information disclosure has a significantly more positive impact on student achievement when the school has a larger number of schools in close proximity (i.e., neighboring schools). The results are robust to the consideration of other possible conditioning factors of the information effect such as school budget autonomy.
    Date: 2023–01
  9. By: Laura A. Outhwaite (University College London); Erin Early (University College London); Christothea Herodotou (Open University); Jo Van Herwegen (University College London)
    Abstract: Educational maths applications (apps) are an emerging trend in young children’s learning environments aiming to raise attainment. The current systematic review aimed to thematically synthesise quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies examining the impact of maths app interventions used at home or at school for young children in the first three years of compulsory education. The thematic narrative synthesis included 50 studies evaluating 77 maths apps with 23, 981 children across 18 countries. Experimental methods were the most common designs, with 20 randomised control trials and 13 quasi-experimental designs. Most studies focused on mathematical learning outcomes with typically developing children and were conducted in the classroom, where practitioners implemented the app-based interventions. Studies predominately reported greater learning outcomes for young children using the evaluated maths apps compared to a range of control conditions. This provides promising evidence that maths apps can support young children’s learning. However, usage and mathematical outcomes before and after the intervention were not consistently or reliably reported across studies, which should be addressed in future research. Based on the current evidence, eight directions for future research are also outlined to enhance the evidence base in this field and raise attainment in mathematics for young children.
    Keywords: Education apps, student achievement, mathematics attainment
    Date: 2023–01
  10. By: Colin P. Green (Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Ole Henning Nyhus (NTNU Social Research); Kari Vea Salvanes (Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation)
    Abstract: Should young children be tested? Proponents view early testing as a necessary instrument for early targeting. Others consider it detrimental to child mental health and with little impact on educational performance. We exploit variation in test-taking in mathematics among primary school children in Norway, traditionally a low-testing environment. We examine both the introduction of difficult mathematics tests and simpler screening tests that were aimed at identifying children in need of assistance. We demonstrate zero effects of testing exposure on later attainment but some benefits from screening tests for low-performing students. There are no negative effects on student welfare, but testing appears to improve aspects of teaching practices, feedback and engagement.
    Keywords: student assessment, testing, student achievement
    JEL: I28 I24
    Date: 2023–01

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