No. 6/2008: Student progression in upper secondary education: The effect of academic ability, gender, and schools. Torberg Falch and Bjarne StrÝm

This paper studies how studentsí prior academic ability, gender, and family background affect performance in upper secondary schools in terms of lack of progression and dropout probability. The link between dropout and lack of progression in post-compulsory schooling is important as graduating from upper secondary school is a prerequisite to attend universities and other higher education institutions. Using an extremely rich data set from Norway covering all students starting upper secondary school education in the fall 2002, we find that earlier school performance is the main predictor of dropout and lack of progression. This holds controlling for a number of family background variables, study tracks and a full set of school fixed effects.