Upper secondary school completion and effects of targeted learning support and other interventions
Through the project ‘Overgangsprosjektet’, a part of the larger ‘Ny GIV’ initiative to increase completion of upper secondary education, students with weak academic achievements received targeted learning support in the last term of the 10th grade in the spring semesters 2011-2013. This report is the final report of the ongoing impact assessment, and presents final results.
The main analyzes are based on comparing the change in results in schools that started the project early with schools that started late. We do not find any effect on any measure of completion of upper secondary, and we can mostly exclude average effects greater than 1-1.5 percentage Points.
The targeted learning support was aimed at low-performing students, although previous reports have shown that there is substantial variation in how students are actually selected for participation. However, we do not find any evidence of effects when we focus on these students. We also find no effects for other student groups, defined by gender, parental characteristics and immigration background.
Stavanger has defined the criteria for participation more clearly than other municipalities, this provides further analytical opportunities. In previous reports, we have found some indications of effects on early measures of progress through upper secondary education in Stavanger. However, we do not find evidence of effects on completion in Stavanger now. Thus, we interpret the differences found earlier as random, and not as an effect of the Project.
Although we do not find effects of this project, the completion of upper secondary has increased during the project period. In the second part of the report, we discuss completion of upper secondary more in general. We consider the skills of the students who do not complete, and look at variables that predict differences in completion. We also consider developments in such variables, and briefly discuss the importance of general conditions such as the labor market, but conclude that this does not enable us to explain the changes in the share that Complete.
Finally, we discuss changes in completion at the county level and local initiatives against upper secondary dropout. We find that there are differences between counties in the share that completes, and that we cannot fully explain these differences. We also see that many local initiatives against upper secondary dropout have been in place. A possible explanation for differences in the evolution of the share completing upper secondary is that some of these initiatives have had greater effect than others. However, these initiatives are typically not thoroughly evaluated and mostly difficult to evaluate, and we discuss how it is possible to build on national and foreign experience in order to find effective initiatives.