Oktober 2010

IZA DP No. 5266: Can Targeted, Non-Cognitive Skills Programs Improve Achievement? Evidence from EPIS

EPIS is an original and large private-sector program aimed at improving student achievement and eroding early school leaving at Portuguese state schools. The program first screens students to focus only on those more likely to perform poorly; and then conducts a number of small-group sessions aimed at improving the non-cognitive skills (e.g. study skills, motivation, self-esteem) of the selected students. Our quasi-experimental evidence of the effects of EPIS is drawn from rich longitudinal student data and the different timings in the roll-out of the program, both within and across schools. The results indicate that the program reduced grade retention by at least 10 percentage points and did so in a cost effective way.