Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

To leave or not to leave?: a regression discontinuity analysis of the impact of failing high school exit exam

By Dongshu Ou


The high school exit exam (HSEE) is rapidly becoming a standardized assessment procedure for educational accountability in the United States. I use a unique state-specific dataset to identify the effect of failing the HSEE on the likelihood that a student drops out early based on a Regression Discontinuity design. It shows that students who barely fail the exam are more likely to exit than those who barely pass despite being offered retest opportunities. The discontinuity amounts to a large proportion of the dropout probability of barely-failers, particularly for minority and low-income students, suggesting that the potential benefit of raising educational standards might come at the cost of increasing inequalities in the educational system

Topics: HC Economic History and Conditions, LA History of education
Publisher: Centre for the Economics of Education, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles


  1. (2002). Does external accountability affect student outcomes? A cross-state analysis.’ Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, doi
  2. (2006). Education Policy (CEP).
  3. (2008). Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error’, doi
  4. (2007). State High School Exit Exams, pp. Working to Raise Test Scores.
  5. (2006). Student Reactions to Being Wrongly Informed of Failing a High-Stakes Test.’ Educational Policy, doi
  6. (2002). the 'First Wave' of Accountability.’
  7. (2005). The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools.’ doi
  8. (1998). The effect of Curriculum-Based External Exit Exam Systems on Student Achievement.’ doi
  9. (2006). Tinkering Toward Accolades, pp. School Gaming Under A Performance Accountability System.’ doi
  10. (1999). Using Maimonides’ Rule to Estimate the doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.