Advanced

Doing it Twice, Getting in Right? The Effects of Grade Retention and Course Repetition in Higher Education

Thiemann, Petra LU and Tafreschi, Darjusch (2016) In Economics of Education Review 55. p.198-219
Abstract
Many students who enter college are insufficiently prepared to follow a demanding college-level curriculum. Thus, higher education institutions often require low-performing students to repeat failed courses, a full term, or even a full year. This paper is the first to investigate the effects of such a “(grade) retention” policy on student performance in higher education. We study a setting where first-year undergraduates who fall short of a pre-defined performance requirement have to repeat all first-year courses before they can proceed to the second year. To determine the causal effect of retention and repetition on student performance, we apply a sharp regression discontinuity design to administrative data from a Swiss university. Based... (More)
Many students who enter college are insufficiently prepared to follow a demanding college-level curriculum. Thus, higher education institutions often require low-performing students to repeat failed courses, a full term, or even a full year. This paper is the first to investigate the effects of such a “(grade) retention” policy on student performance in higher education. We study a setting where first-year undergraduates who fall short of a pre-defined performance requirement have to repeat all first-year courses before they can proceed to the second year. To determine the causal effect of retention and repetition on student performance, we apply a sharp regression discontinuity design to administrative data from a Swiss university. Based on a sample of 5000 students, we find that grade retention increases dropout probabilities after the first year by about 10 percentage points. Repetition of a full year persistently boosts grade point averages by about 0.5 standard deviations, but does not affect study pace and major choices. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Grade retention, Course repetition, Higher education, Dropout, Academic achievement, Regression discontinuity, I21, I23, J24
in
Economics of Education Review
volume
55
pages
198 - 219
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84994482334
ISSN
1873-7382
DOI
10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.10.003
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
546b68fb-aff9-411d-a927-f86ffb7186f7
date added to LUP
2017-09-06 16:28:21
date last changed
2017-09-10 05:23:52
@article{546b68fb-aff9-411d-a927-f86ffb7186f7,
  abstract     = {Many students who enter college are insufficiently prepared to follow a demanding college-level curriculum. Thus, higher education institutions often require low-performing students to repeat failed courses, a full term, or even a full year. This paper is the first to investigate the effects of such a “(grade) retention” policy on student performance in higher education. We study a setting where first-year undergraduates who fall short of a pre-defined performance requirement have to repeat all first-year courses before they can proceed to the second year. To determine the causal effect of retention and repetition on student performance, we apply a sharp regression discontinuity design to administrative data from a Swiss university. Based on a sample of 5000 students, we find that grade retention increases dropout probabilities after the first year by about 10 percentage points. Repetition of a full year persistently boosts grade point averages by about 0.5 standard deviations, but does not affect study pace and major choices.},
  author       = {Thiemann, Petra and Tafreschi, Darjusch},
  issn         = {1873-7382},
  keyword      = {Grade retention,Course repetition,Higher education,Dropout,Academic achievement, Regression discontinuity,I21,I23,J24},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {198--219},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Economics of Education Review},
  title        = {Doing it Twice, Getting in Right? The Effects of Grade Retention and Course Repetition in Higher Education},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.10.003},
  volume       = {55},
  year         = {2016},
}