The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion

54 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2007 Last revised: 18 Oct 2007

See all articles by Brian Jacob

Brian Jacob

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lars John Lefgren

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

Low-achieving students in many school districts are retained in a grade in order to allow them to gain the academic or social skills that teachers believe are necessary to succeed academically. This practice is highly controversial, with many researchers claiming that it leads to higher dropout rates although selection issues have complicated previous analyses. In this paper, we use a regression discontinuity design to examine the impact of grade retention on high school completion. We find that grade retention leads to a modest increase in the probability of dropping out for older students, but has no significant effect on younger students.

Suggested Citation

Jacob, Brian and Lefgren, Lars John, The Effect of Grade Retention on High School Completion (October 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13514. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1021992

Brian Jacob (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7968 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lars John Lefgren

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States

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