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.
- Teacher discretion