An extra year to learn English? Early grade retention and the human capital development of English learners

David Figlio*, Umut Özek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we use microdata from 12 Florida county-level school districts to examine the effects of early grade retention on the short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes of English learners in a regression discontinuity design. We find that retention in the third grade coupled with instructional support substantially improves the English skills of these students, reducing the time to proficiency by half and decreasing the likelihood of taking a remedial English course in middle school by one-third. Grade retention also roughly doubles the likelihood of taking an advanced course in math and science in middle school, and triples the likelihood of taking college credit-bearing courses in high school for English learners. We do not find any adverse effects of the policy on disciplinary problems or absences among English learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104184
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume186
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • English learners
  • Grade retention
  • Human capital
  • Time to proficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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