Social promotion in primary school : immediate and cumulated effects on attainment
MetadataShow full item record
Does social promotion perpetuate shortfalls in student achievement, or can low-achieving students catch up with their peers when they are pushed ahead? Using data from Brazilian primary schools, this paper presents evidence of substantial catch up among socially promoted students. After documenting sorting across schools in response to the policy, in particular away from gated- promotion private schools, we show that social promotion cycles has no significant effect on municipality enrolment figures or on the percentage of students dropping out mid-year. Cohorts of students exposed to episodes of social pro- motion display higher rates of age-appropriate study than their peers who faced the threat of repetition each year: by age eleven, 5.6 fewer students out of 100 have fallen behind in their studies, while 5.1 fewer students out of 100 are two or more years delayed. These gains, which arise mechanically during the period of social promotion, are highly persistent over time – even through educational stages which are typically high-stakes. This evidence suggests that, absent the social promotion policy, retention rates in Brazilian primary schools are inefficiently high: many promoted students successfully pass gateway exams after being pushed ahead, and go on to complete junior primary school on time.
Leighton , M A , Souza , P & Straub , S 2016 ' Social promotion in primary school : immediate and cumulated effects on attainment ' School of Economics and Finance Discussion Paper , no. 1607 , University of St Andrews , St Andrews , pp. 1-92 .
Working or discussion paper
(c) 2016 The authors
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.