Barbetta, Gian Paolo Sorrenti, Giuseppe Turati, Gilberto
Year of Publication:
Working Paper 275
We exploit Italian law DPR 81/2009, which determines class composition, as an instrument to identify the causal effect of grouping students of different grades into a single class (multigrading) on children cognitive achievement. This article focuses on 7-year-old students - those at the beginning of their formal education. Results suggest that attendance in multigrade classes versus single-grade classes increases students' performance on standardized tests by 15-20 percent of a standard deviation. The positive impact of multigrading only appears for children sharing their class with peers from higher grades and is relatively stronger for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Multigrade classes child development peer effects rural areas