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DICE Research Seminar “Predicting Dropouts: The Role of Non-Cognitive Skills and Motivation “


Julia Nafziger (Aarhus University)

will give a talk on               

Predicting Dropouts: The Role of Non-Cognitive Skills and Motivation

in the DICE research seminar.

Abstract: We combine data from a survey experiment with over 600 first-year students with administrative register data that allow us to track students' outcomes for up to eight years subsequently. The survey includes questions and incentivized tasks related to a broad set of economic preferences and behavioral characteristics, as well as socioeconomic status, students' motivation, and completion expectations regarding the program they were enrolled in. Using a machine learning approach, we provide a comprehensive assessment of the value added of different sets of variables measured at the start of the studies for predicting dropout. Surprisingly, measures of non-cognitive skills do not provide added value in predicting dropout compared to using only the high school grade point average and the basic variables that are typically available to a university administration. Similarly, information on socioeconomic background and financial situation does not significantly improve dropout prediction. Yet, easy to administer questions regarding students’ motivation and expectation in completing their studies boost the performance of models predicting dropout.

You can find Julia’s website here: https://sites.google.com/site/julianafziger/home.


She will be available for individual meetings on the day of the seminar. Giulia and Yihan will coordinate the schedule. Please use the following Google sheet if you want to reserve a slot: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-a4aLpgf7Lknu25by0q-j3af2W1J-giuDA6l7252E44/edit#gid=0.


09.07.2024, 14:15 Uhr - 15:30 Uhr
Ort: Room S3/4 in the Oeconomicum (building 24.31)