Author: Chester Polson
Date: March 2014
Publication Type: Report, 40pp.
This paper considers how exit exams in place in Texas impact post-secondary outcomes for students around the threshold score for passing. Employing a regression discontinuity framework on the four separate sections of the TAKS exit exam, the author examines the impact of passing the exam for students within a small window of scores around the passing threshold. While research finds suggestive evidence that passing the exam sections do increase the probability of obtaining a high school diploma, it did not find any longer term effects: just passing the exit exam does not seem to impact enrollment or graduation in post-secondary education or subsequent labor force outcomes. This lack of an estimated effect suggests that this policy does not have large unintended consequences years beyond the end of high school for students who fail to pass the exams.