Competing with grades - The effect of school choice on high school dropout rates
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As efforts are made to reduce dropouts among high school students, school choice remains a hotly debated policy. The subject is complicated by an apparent gender gap in the academic performance of boys and girls. As girls outperform boys in most subjects, such a policy might affect them differently. When students compete with grades, we would expect to see an increased clustering of girls in the best and most popular schools. Conversely, if boys have to settle for second- and third-tier schools more often, it might explain low motivation and high dropout rates among this group. This thesis exploit a policy change in Hordaland in 2005 to examine two topics: Firstly I look at the effect of increased choice on high school dropout rates. Secondly I explore whether the effects are heterogeneous for gender. Results suggests that in the wake of the reform dropout rates increased for students in academic track programs, with the strongest effect being present among boys. These results are substantiated by indications of similar effects in several other counties that implemented reforms of this kind.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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