The Effect of High School Exit Exams on Graduation, Employment, Wages and Incarceration

40 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013

See all articles by Olesya Baker

Olesya Baker

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Kevin Lang

Boston University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

We evaluate the effects of high school exit exams on high school graduation, incarceration, employment and wages. We construct a state/graduation-cohort dataset using the Current Population Survey, Census and information on exit exams. We find relatively modest effects of high school exit exams except on incarceration. Exams assessing academic skills below the high school level have little effect. However, more challenging standards-based exams reduce graduation and increase incarceration rates. About half the reduction in graduation rates is offset by increased GED receipt. We find no consistent effects of exit exams on employment or the distribution of wages.

Suggested Citation

Baker, Olesya and Lang, Kevin, The Effect of High School Exit Exams on Graduation, Employment, Wages and Incarceration (June 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19182, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2287042

Olesya Baker (Contact Author)

Brigham and Women's Hospital ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

Kevin Lang

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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