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Should Schools Grade Student Behavior? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Comportment Grade Reforms

Diskussionspapiere extern

Florian Schoner, Lukas Mergele, Larissa Zierow

Munich: CESifo, 2021,
(CESifo Working Paper No. 9275)


Numerous countries require teachers to assign comportment grades rating students’ social and work behavior in the classroom. However, the impact of such policies on student outcomes remains unknown. We exploit the staggered introduction of comportment grading across German federal states to estimate its causal effect on students’ school-to-work transitions as well as cognitive and non-cognitive abilities. Analyzing census data, household surveys, and nationwide student assessments, we show that comportment grading does not meaningfully affect these outcomes and rule out large effect sizes. Our results are consistent with these grades being insufficiently salient for students to alter actual student behaviors.

Keywords: school reforms, report cards, labor market transition, student achievement
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