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The Effects of Remedial Exams on Student Achievement in Upper Secondary Schools in Italy

Starting from school year 2007/08, upper secondary schools in Italy are required by the Ministry of Education to implement remedial education programmes to help low-achieving students. Until school year 2006/07 students who did not meet proficiency expectations were given a debito formativo ("educational debt"), that is a final mark signaling student's failure in one or more subjects. Such lack in achievement was to be recovered in the following years with no clearly defined deadline, resulting in a de facto "social promotion" practice passing students to the next grade regardless of their performance. With the new progression system, low-performing students are compelled to recover their educational lacks by passing a remedial exam before the beginning of the new school year.
IRVAPP, with the support of the Education Department of the Province of Trento, has carried out an impact evaluation to assess whether a crucial feature of the reform, which is the threat of grade retention, has had any effect on student proficiency. The study exploits the quasi experimental variation that results from geographical discontinuities in the implementation of the reform. Unlike the rest of the country, schools located in a well defined area in Northern Italy (Trento Province), which enjoys some degree of autonomy regarding education policies, opted out of the new progression system.

08 June 2010 - 09:30

CNEL Aula della Biblioteca - Viale David Lubin 2 - Roma



Sergio Ristuccia
President of the Consiglio Italiano per le Scienze Sociali

Andrea Zanotti
President of the Fondazione Bruno Kessler


Antonio Schizzerotto
IRVAPP & Università degli Studi di Trento


Valentina Aprea
President of the VII Culture, Science & Education Commission of the House of Representatives

Giovanni Bachelet
Member of the of the VII Culture, Science & Education Commission of the House of Representatives

Piero Cipollone
President of the INVALSI

Chiara Saraceno
WZB, Social Science Research Center, Berlin

Clotilde Pontecorvo
CSS & Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza

Beppe Tognon
Università di Roma LUMSA & Fondazione Bruno Kessler