Marieke Heers, Chris van Klaveren, Wim Groot and Henriëtte Maassen van den Brink (2012). The Impact of Community Schools on Student Dropout in Pre-vocational Education.
Dropout prevention is highly ranked on the political agenda in many countries. It remains unclear,
however, how dropout can be eectively reduced, as many dierent factors are determining student dropout.
Community schools recognize this and modernize education such that it better accommodates students'
personal needs. As a result these schools cooperate more with external organizations, stimulate parental
involvement in the educational process and organize more extracurricular activities. Despite the increasing
number of community schools, there is no empirical evidence that these schools reduce student dropout.
This study examines the impact of Dutch community schools on student dropout. It focuses in particular on
pre-vocational education, because dropout is particularly high in this educational track. Moreover, the focus
is on the city of Rotterdam because this city is a forerunner in the Netherlands in establishing community
schools. Unique registration data are used on all Rotterdam students who were enrolled in pre-vocational
education between 2004 and 2008. The impact of community schools is identied by exploiting the fact that
community schools were created not before the beginning of the school year 2006/2007. This enables us to
estimate the community school impact by means of a dierence-in-dierences estimation model combined
with an iterative matching approach. The estimation results suggest that community schools are as eective
as regular schools with respect to dropout reduction. Community school subsidies do not seem to contribute
to reducing dropout.
JEL-code: I21, C21, C23
Keywords: Dropout; community schools; pre-vocational education; dierence-in-dierences; matching