The Medium-Run Effects of Florida’s Test-Based Promotion Policy
Winters, M. A. and J. P. Greene (2012). The Medium-Run Effects of Florida’s Test-Based Promotion Policy. Education Finance and Policy, 7(3), pp: 305 – 330. (Download)
We use a regression discontinuity strategy to produce causal estimates for the effect of remediation under Florida’s test-based promotion policy on multiple outcomes for up to five years after the intervention. Students subjected to the policy were retained in the third grade, were required to be assigned to a high-quality teacher during the retained year, and were required to attend summer school. Exposure to these interventions has a statistically significant and substantial positive effect on student achievement in math, reading, and science in the years immediately following the treatment. But the effect of the treatment dissipates over time. Nonetheless, we find that the effect of remediation under the policy on academic achievement is statistically significant and of a meaningful magnitude several years after the student is exposed to the intervention. Though we cannot completely separate the differential effects of the treatments attached to the policy, we provide some evidence that assignment to a high-quality teacher in the retained year is not the primary driver of the policy’s effect.