A high bar may benefit weak students

Ivo J.M. Arnold*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper uses a large sample of students from a Dutch university to describe variations in academic performance following a change in the strictness of academic dismissal policies. The research setting includes one moment in which the performance threshold for academic dismissal has been changed, keeping constant other characteristics of the educational system. Using a descriptive approach, we show that after the threshold has been raised the number of credits earned by academically weak students increases. A higher threshold level also brings their study effort forward in time, as evidenced by a decrease in the number of no-shows and an increase in the number of credits earned during regular exams. We also show that some students perceive the minimum performance level as a target level. The evidence suggests that variations in the implementation of academic dismissal policies affect students’ tendency to procrastinate, especially among weaker students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1047
Number of pages21
JournalHigher Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'A high bar may benefit weak students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this