Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Unexpected Effects of No Pass, No Drive Policies on High School Education

Kennedy, Kendall (2018): The Unexpected Effects of No Pass, No Drive Policies on High School Education.

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Since 1988, 27 states have introduced No Pass, No Drive laws, which tie a teenager’s ability to receive and maintain a driver’s license to various school-related outcomes -- most commonly, enrollment and attendance. Truancy-Based No Pass, No Drive policies target only attendance – teens that fail to meet a minimum attendance requirement lose their driver’s license. However, these policies allow students to drop out of school without facing this penalty. These policies increase the annual dropout rate by between 32 and 45 percent (1.4 to 2 percentage points). Enrollment-Based No Pass, No Drive policies, the largest group of policies, which target both enrollment and attendance, have negligible effects on dropout rates, but decrease the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) by more than one percentage point. However, this lower graduation rate stems from students delaying their dropout decision by up to two years. As a result, these students are retained in the ninth and tenth grades, increasing ninth grade enrollment by 2.8 percent relative to eighth grade enrollment the year prior; this causes an artificial reduction in the graduation rate, rather than a reduction in the true likelihood that a student will graduate.

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