The impact of community schools on student dropout in pre-vocational education

Marieke Heers*, Chris Van Klaveren, Wim Groot, Henriëtte Maassen van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Dropout prevention is highly ranked on the political agenda in many countries. It remains unclear, however, how dropout can be effectively reduced, as many different factors determine student dropout. Community schools recognize this and aim to modernize education such that it better accommodates students' personal needs. As a result these schools cooperate more with external organizations, stimulate parental involvement in the educational process, and organize more extracurricular activities. This study examines the impact of Dutch community schools on student dropout. It focuses in particular on pre-vocational education, because dropout is particularly high in this educational track. Moreover, the focus is on the city of Rotterdam because this city is a frontrunner in the Netherlands in establishing community schools. Use is made of unique registration data on all Rotterdam students who were enrolled in pre-vocational education between 2004 and 2008. The impact of community schools is identified by exploiting the fact that community schools were not created before the beginning of the school year 2006/2007. This enables us to estimate the community school impact by means of a difference-in-differences estimation model combined with an iterative matching approach. The estimation results suggest that community schools are as effective as regular schools with respect to dropout reduction. Community school subsidies do not seem to contribute to reducing dropout.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-119
    Number of pages15
    JournalEconomics of Education Review
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Community schools
    • Difference-in-differences
    • Dropout
    • Matching
    • Pre-vocational education


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