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Does Enhanced Student Commitment Reduce School Dropout? ? Evidence From Two Major Dropout Regions in the Netherlands

Sofie Cabus

 

Abstract:
Enhanced student commitment to the school, peers, and teachers may improve student motivation and reduce school dropout. A Dutch dropout prevention measure in this respect deals with smoothing the transition from the pre-vocational school to the vocational school in order to reduce school dropout. Potential dropout students are followed during the summer break, go through an intake procedure, and communication between the pre-vocational school and the vocational school is enhanced by transferring a file containing detailed information on the student. Also a small government experiment offered the possibility to students to attend classes from familiar teachers in their pre-vocational school. Using regional borders as an instrument, and accounting for differences in the underlying student population in a quasi-experimental set-up, the results show, on the one hand, that the transition policy did not decline school dropout among native Dutch students. On the other hand, Ethnic minority students increasingly dropped out of school one year after the transition policy became effective.
Key words: difference-in-differences; school dropout; vocational education;
JEL Code: I21, I28

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