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Should we increase instruction time in low achieving schools? Evidence from Southern Italy

Erich Battistin () and Elena Meroni

Economics of Education Review, 2016, vol. 55, issue C, 39-56

Abstract: This paper investigates the short term effects of a large scale intervention, funded by the European Social Fund, which provides additional instruction time to selected classes of lower secondary schools in Southern Italy. Selection is addressed using institutional rules that regulate class formation: first year students are divided into groups distinguished by letters, they remain in the same group across grades at the school, and the composition of teachers assigned to groups is stable over time. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we consider consecutive cohorts of first year students enrolled in the same group. We compare participating groups to non-participating groups within the same school, as well as to groups in non-participating schools. We find that the intervention raised scores in mathematics for students from the least advantaged backgrounds. We also find that targeting the best students with extra activities in language comes at the cost of lowering performance in mathematics. We go beyond average effects, finding that the positive effect for mathematics is driven by larger effects for the best students.

Keywords: Educational economics; Instruction time; Policy evaluation; Quantile treatment effects (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C31 I21 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Working Paper: Should We Increase Instruction Time in Low Achieving Schools? Evidence from Southern Italy (2013) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.08.003

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