The consequences of academic dismissal for academic success

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


Academic dismissal policies make it possible for universities to dismiss students from an educational program based on their first-year performances. This study examines the long-term academic effects of academic dismissal for two cohorts of Dutch students who started a bachelor program in 2009 or 2010. These students are academically dismissed when they are below a predetermined academic threshold level at the end of their first year.
The empirical results show no significant differences in obtaining a degree or study duration between students around the academic dismissal threshold. Of the students who are observed below the academic dismissal threshold, 85.3 percent switch to the same (43.4%), or to an adjacent (41.9%) academic program. Hence, even though academic dismissal induces switching behavior, it does not prevent students from obtaining an academic degree, nor delay students.
These results indicate that AD policies force students out of their preferred university without realizing their intended purpose of redirecting students to a different field of study more aligned with their preferences/capabilities. By transfering a selective student subpopulation to the same -or adjacent- educational program, AD does not realize the intended efficiency or effectiveness gains. If anything, AD operates as a warning system that induces
students students to put in more effort after switching to still be academically successful.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam Center for Learning Analytics
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

SeriesACLA Working Paper Series

JEL classifications

  • i21 - Analysis of Education
  • i22 - Educational Finance


  • academic dismissal
  • higher education
  • educational attainment
  • student graduation

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