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The variability in the effect of additional education on different mathematical skills in primary school - A regression discontinuity analysis

Dimona Bartelet1,2,*, Carla Haelermans1,3, Wim Groot1 and Henriëtte Maassen van den Brink1

1 Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research, Maastricht University, Maastricht 6200 MD, The Netherlands
2 Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht 6200 MD, The Netherlands
3 Centre for Innovations and Public Sector Efficiency Studies, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands


Abstract
This paper explores the variability in the effect of an additional year of education on different basic mathematical skills, which are taught to children and explicitly repeated at different points in time during elementary school. In addition, the role of child specific characteristics and the role of the school is addressed. Using a regression discontinuity approach, we estimate the local education effect for a range of successive elementary school grade cohorts at six schools in the Netherlands, while including child specific characteristics and school fixed effects. The results indicate that the effect of education is contingent upon the mathematical skills and grade levels studied. A significant education effect is observed the year after children have first learned a mathematical skill and in the last year of primary school, which can be explained by the additional focus that is being put on elementary mathematics skills in these years. Furthermore, the outcomes suggest that children’s multiplication skills are significantly lower if their school emphasizes child centered, natural learning and multigrade teaching instead of traditional classroom learning.
JEL-Classification – I20, I21.
Key words – return to education; mathematic abilities; primary school, regression discontinuity.

 

Please contact the authors if you want to download this working paper.

carla.haelermans@maastrichtuniversity.nl

 

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