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The causal effects of increased learning intensity on student achievement: evidence from a natural experiment

Vincenzo Andrietti

UC3M Working papers. Economics from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía

Abstract: I exploit a unique educational policy - implemented in most German states between 2001 and 2007 - that reduced high school duration by one year while keeping its curriculum unaltered to investigate how the resulting increase in learning intensity affected student achievement. Using 2000-2009 PISA data and a difference-in-differences approach, I find robust evidence that the reform significantly improved the reading, mathematics, and science literacy skills acquired by academic-track high school students upon treatment. A more direct estimate of the effects of the increased learning intensity - as measured by the cumulative weekly number of instructional hours delivered in high school grades - corroborates the latter finding. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the effects of the reform differ by gender and grade retention. Finally, I find no evidence of a significant average effect of the reform on high school grade retention, although I do find that the latter increased significantly for boys and for students with a migration background.

Keywords: G8; Learning; intensity; Instructional; hours; Student; achievement; Academic-track; high; school; Difference-in-Differences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D04 I21 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-06-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
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