The Effect of Grade Retention on Secondary School Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

47 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018

See all articles by Maria Ferreira

Maria Ferreira

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA)

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Sergio Parra-Cely

Maastricht University

Abstract

We study the effects of grade retention on secondary school performance by considering a change in Colombia's educative legislation. In 2010, the rule that forced schools to retain up to a 5% of students was abolished. Exploiting variation in schools' retention rates in a difference-in-differences framework, we find that retained (marginally non-retained) students improve (decline) their performance on language but not on math test scores. We suggest the school's position in the retention distribution, and the proportion of inexperienced teachers in the classroom, can be the mechanisms by which the marginally decreasing returns of grade retention are determined.

Keywords: retention, Colombia, difference-in-differences

JEL Classification: I20, I24, J24

Suggested Citation

Ferreira, Maria and Golsteyn, Bart and Parra-Cely, Sergio, The Effect of Grade Retention on Secondary School Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11604. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3205891

Maria Ferreira (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Sergio Parra-Cely

Maastricht University

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

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