Early-years multi-grade classes and pupil attainment

Daniel Borbely, Markus Gehrsitz, Stuart McIntyre, Gennaro Rossi, Graeme Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Downloads (Pure)


We study the effect of exposure to older, more experienced, classroom peers resulting from the widespread use of multi-grade classes in Scottish primary schools. For identification, we exploit that a class-planning algorithm quasi-randomly assigns groups of pupils to multi-grade classes. We find that school-starters benefit from exposure to second-graders in measures of numeracy and literacy. We do not find any evidence that these gains are driven by smaller class sizes or more parental input. While short-lived, these benefits accrue independent of socioeconomic background, to boys and girls alike, and our results provide no evidence that they come at the expense of older peers from the preceding cohort.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalOxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics
Early online date9 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2023


  • multi-grade classes
  • peer effects
  • class-size
  • cognitive skills


Dive into the research topics of 'Early-years multi-grade classes and pupil attainment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this