Educational equity and teacher discretion effects in high stake exams

Ilja Cornelisz, Martijn Meeter, Chris van Klaveren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This study examines teacher discretion effects in Dutch secondary education for the period 2007–2012. Stark discontinuities are observed in the exam grade distribution for high-stakes retaking students and are located at important graduation thresholds. This phenomenon is systematically related to the level of discretion when grading the exam, with results suggesting that approximately 11% of all graduating retakers did so because of teacher discretion. This yields unequal graduation opportunities that are the result of school- and subject choice patterns, since teacher discretion is structurally and selectively exerted at the school-level with the objective to let students on the margin graduate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101908
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Early online date12 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Equity
  • Grading
  • Teacher discretion


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