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Assessing the effect of school days and absenceson test score performance

Aucejo, Esteban and Romano, Teresa (2014) Assessing the effect of school days and absenceson test score performance. CEP Discussion Papers, CEPDP1302. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: CEPDP1302

Abstract

While instructional time is viewed as crucial to learning, little is known about the effectiveness of reducing absences relative to increasing the number of school days. In this regard, this paper jointly estimates the effect of absences and length of the school calendar on test score performance. Using administrative data from North Carolina public schools, we exploit a state policy that provides variation in the number of days prior to standardized testing and find substantial differences between these effects. Extending the school calendar by ten days increases math and reading test scores by only 0.8% and 0.2% of a standard deviation, respectively; a similar reduction in absences would lead to gains of 5.8% and 3% in math and reading. We perform a number of robustness checks including utilizing u data to instrument for absences, family-year fixed effects, separating excused and unexcused absences, and controlling for a contemporaneous measure of student disengagement. Our results are robust to these alternative specifications. In addition, our findings indicate considerable heterogeneity across student ability, suggesting that targeting absenteeism among low performing students could aid in narrowing current gaps in performance.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?...
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 12:08
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2014 12:08
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/60498

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