Findings

Superman is Booked

Kevin Lewis

October 07, 2010

How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence From Project STAR

Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Nathaniel Hilger, Emmanuel Saez, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan
NBER Working Paper, September 2010

Abstract:
In Project STAR, 11,571 students in Tennessee and their teachers were randomly assigned to different classrooms within their schools from kindergarten to third grade. This paper evaluates the long-term impacts of STAR using administrative records. We obtain five results. First, kindergarten test scores are highly correlated with outcomes such as earnings at age 27, college attendance, home ownership, and retirement savings. Second, students in small classes are significantly more likely to attend college, attend a higher-ranked college, and perform better on a variety of other outcomes. Class size does not have a significant effect on earnings at age 27, but this effect is imprecisely estimated. Third, students who had a more experienced teacher in kindergarten have higher earnings. Fourth, an analysis of variance reveals significant kindergarten class effects on earnings. Higher kindergarten class quality - as measured by classmates' end-of-class test scores - increases earnings, college attendance rates, and other outcomes. Finally, the effects of kindergarten class quality fade out on test scores in later grades but gains in non-cognitive measures persist. We conclude that early childhood education has substantial long-term impacts, potentially through non-cognitive channels. Our analysis suggests that improving the quality of schools in disadvantaged areas may reduce poverty and raise earnings and tax revenue in the long run.

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Is the link between large high schools and student victimization an illusion?

Jennifer Klein & Dewey Cornell
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
To determine whether larger high schools have more student victimization than smaller schools, this study examined a statewide sample of approximately 7,431 ninth-grade students and 2,353 teachers in 290 Virginia high schools participating in the Virginia High School Safety Study. School size was distinguished from the proportion of students receiving free or reduced-price meals, percentage of minority students, ethnic diversity (heterogeneity), and urbanicity. In larger schools, teachers and students reported that they perceived more bullying and teasing taking place, but student self-reports of being a victim of bullying were not associated with school size. Additionally, school discipline records showed that although the total number of incidents was higher, the rate of bullying offenses was lower in larger schools. Similar results were found for measures of student threats and physical assaults. These findings raise the possibility that the link between larger schools and higher student victimization is an illusion based on perceived frequency rather than rates of victimization.

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The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning

Brian Jacob, Lars Lefgren & David Sims
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2010, Pages 915-943

Abstract:
This paper constructs a statistical model of learning that suggests a systematic way of measuring the persistence of treatment effects in education. This method is straightforward to implement, allows for comparisons across educational treatments, and can be related to intuitive benchmarks. We demonstrate the methodology using student-teacher linked administrative data for North Carolina to examine the persistence of teacher quality. We find that teacher-induced learning has low persistence, with three-quarters or more fading out within one year. Other measures of teacher quality produce similar or lower persistence estimates.

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What a Difference a Day Makes: Estimating Daily Learning Gains During Kindergarten and First Grade Using a Natural Experiment

Maria Fitzpatrick, David Grissmer & Sarah Hastedt
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Knowing whether time spent in formal schooling increases student achievement, and by how much, is important for policymakers interested in determining efficient use of resources. Using the ECLS-K, we exploit quasi-randomness in the timing of assessment dates to examine this question. Conservative estimates suggest a year of school results in gains of about one standard deviation above normal developmental gains in both reading and math test scores. The results are statistically significant and extremely robust to specification choice, supporting quasi-randomness of test dates. Estimates of skill accumulation due to formal schooling do not vary based on socioeconomic characteristics.

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Extending the School Day or School Year: A Systematic Review of Research (1985-2009)

Erika Patall, Harris Cooper & Ashley Batts Allen
Review of Educational Research, September 2010, Pages 401-436

Abstract:
Attention has been directed toward extended school time as a measure to improve academic achievement. The school year and day length have varied over time and across localities depending on the particular needs of the community. Proponents argue that extending time will have learning and nonacademic benefits. Opponents suggest increased time is not guaranteed to lead to more effective instruction and suggest other costs. Despite noted limitations in the research, past reviewers have argued that any positive relation between allocated time and achievement is tentative and instructional quality needs to be addressed first. After a comprehensive search of the literature, 15 empirical studies of various designs conducted since 1985 were found. The literature revealed that (a) designs are generally weak for making causal inferences and (b) outcomes other than achievement are scarcely studied. That said, findings suggest that extending school time can be an effective way to support student learning, particularly (a) for students most at risk of school failure and (b) when considerations are made for how time is used. Of note, the strongest research designs produced the most consistent positive results. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

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Should students have a gap year? Motivation and performance factors relevant to time out after completing school

Andrew Martin
Journal of Educational Psychology, August 2010, Pages 561-576

Abstract:
Increasingly, school leavers are taking time out from study or formal work after completing high school-often referred to as a "gap year" (involving structured activities such as "volunteer tourism" and unstructured activities such as leisure). Although much opinion exists about the merits-or otherwise-of taking time out after completing school, relatively little research has sought to understand the gap year from a psychoeducational perspective. Harnessing the theories of planned behavior and reasoned action and using structural equation modeling, the author examines the academic factors that predict gap year intentions among 2,502 high school students (Study 1) and the academic profile in respect to gap year participation of 338 students in university or college (Study 2). Findings in Study 1 show that postschool uncertainty and lower levels of academic motivation predict gap year intentions, that lower motivation and lower performance predict postschool uncertainty, and that these effects are significant over and above the effects of demographic (gender, age, ethnicity) covariates. Findings in Study 2 show that gap year participation positively predicts academic motivation and that this effect is significant over and above the effects of demographic covariates. The present investigation centrally positions psychoeducational theorizing in relation to the potential yields of a gap year in resolving problematic motivation and performance profiles that may have precipitated students' postschool uncertainty and interest in taking a year out after completing school.

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Class Size and Class Heterogeneity

Giacomo DeGiorgi, Michele Pellizzari & William Gui Woolston
NBER Working Paper, September 2010

Abstract:
We study how class size and class composition affect the academic and labor market performance of college students, two crucial policy questions given the secular increase in college enrollment. Our identification strategy relies on the random assignment of students to teaching classes. We find that a one standard deviation increase in class-size results in a 0.1 standard deviation deterioration of the average grade. Further, the effect is heterogeneous as it is stronger for males and lower income students. Also, the effects of class composition in terms of gender and ability appear to be inverse U-shaped. Finally, a reduction of 20 students (one standard deviation) in one's class size has a positive effect on monthly wages of about 80 Euros (115 USD) or 6% over the average.

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Cultural diversity in the classroom and its effects on academic performance: A cross-national perspective

Paul N'Dri Konan, Armand Chatard, Leila Selimbegović & Gabriel Mugny
Social Psychology, Fall 2010, Pages 230-237

Abstract:
Drawing on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Program for International Student Assessment (OECD/PISA), we examined the relationship between the percentage of immigrant students and the reading and mathematics performances of native and immigrant students across nations. In line with research on cultural diversity, results indicated performance benefits as the percentage of immigrant students increased across nations. Interestingly, these effects remained significant for both native and immigrant students, once several other predictors of test performance at the national, school, and individual levels were controlled for. These findings challenge the assumption that the increasing presence of immigrant students in educational institutions represents a threat to native students' academic performance. Potential mechanisms are proposed and discussed, offering new avenues for research.

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School Desegregation and Educational Attainment for Blacks

Sarah Reber
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2010, Pages 893-914

Abstract:
This paper assesses the effects of school desegregation on its intended beneficiaries: black students. In Louisiana, substantial reductions in segregation between 1965 and 1970 were accompanied by large increases in per-pupil funding, which allowed funding in integrated schools to be "leveled up" to the level previously experienced only in white schools. Desegregation also brought increased exposure of blacks to whites. Analysis of new data on levels of segregation, resources and educational attainment from 1960-75 suggests that the increase in funding associated with desegregation improved educational attainment for blacks. A 42 percent increase in funding led to a 15 percent increase in high school graduation rates, and the estimated present value of the additional education exceeded the additional cost.

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Accomplishment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (stem) and its relation to stem educational dose: A 25-year longitudinal study

Jonathan Wai, David Lubinski, Camilla Benbow & James Steiger
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies examined the relationship between precollegiate advanced/enriched educational experiences and adult accomplishments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In Study 1, 1,467 13-year-olds were identified as mathematically talented on the basis of scores ≥ 500 (top 0.5%) on the math section of the Scholastic Assessment Test; subsequently, their developmental trajectories were studied over 25 years. Particular attention was paid to high-level STEM accomplishments with low base rates in the general population (STEM PhDs, STEM publications, STEM tenure, STEM patents, and STEM occupations). Study 2 retrospectively profiled the adolescent advanced/enriched educational experiences of 714 top STEM graduate students (mean age = 25), and related these experiences to their STEM accomplishments up to age 35. In both longitudinal studies, those with notable STEM accomplishments manifested past histories involving a richer density of advanced precollegiate educational opportunities in STEM (a higher "STEM dose") than less highly achieving members of their respective cohorts. While both studies are quasi-experimental, they suggest that for mathematically talented and academically motivated young adolescents, STEM accomplishments are facilitated by a rich mix of precollegiate STEM educational opportunities that are designed to be intellectually challenging, even for students at precocious developmental levels. These opportunities appear to be uniformly important for both sexes.

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It Takes a Village (Perhaps a Nation): Families, States, and Educational Achievement

Patrick Heuveline, Hongxing Yang & Jeffrey Timberlake
Journal of Marriage and Family, October 2010, Pages 1362-1376

Abstract:
Research in the United States has shown that children growing up in 2-parent households do better in school than children from single-parent households. We used the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data to test whether this finding applied to other countries as well (N = 100,307). We found that it did, but that the educational gap was greater in the United States than in the other 13 countries considered. Results from 2-level hierarchical linear models demonstrated that international differences in the educational gap were associated with several indicators of national policy and demographic contexts. No single policy appeared to have a large effect, but several policy combinations were associated with substantially reduced educational gaps between children from different family structures.

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Identifying Peer Effects in Student Academic Achievement by Spatial Autoregressive Models with Group Unobservables

Xu Lin
Journal of Labor Economics, October 2010, Pages 825-860

Abstract:
Disentangling peer effects from other confounding effects is difficult, and separately identifying endogenous and contextual effects is impossible for the linear-in-means model. This study confronts these problems by using spatial autoregressive models with group fixed effects. The nonlinearity introduced by the variations in the peer measurements provides information to identify both endogenous and contextual effects, thus resolving the "reflection problem." The group fixed effects term captures the confounding effects of the common variables. Applying the model to data sets from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I find strong evidence for both endogenous and contextual effects in student academic achievement.

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Public Higher Education and New York State's Economy

Richard Vogel & Hubert Keen
Economic Development Quarterly, November 2010, Pages 384-393

Abstract:
The formation of human capital in modern economic growth theory is one of the underlying foundations of economic growth. Higher education, such as that offered through the State University of New York (SUNY) system, serves as an important gateway to developing and expanding human capital within the state. Established in 1948, SUNY has grown from 28 to 64 institutions, with a total enrollment of more than 427,000 students, approximately 37% of all higher education enrollments in the state. Using a growth accounting framework, the authors examine SUNY's impact on state economic growth from 1960 to 2001. The results of the analysis indicate that investments in SUNY and growth in state output and income are cointegrated and that SUNY has a positive and significant effect on state economic growth.

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The impact of governing structure on the pricing behavior and market structure of public institutions of higher education in the U.S.

Joseph Calhoun & David Kamerschen
International Review of Economics, September 2010, Pages 317-333

Abstract:
The governance structure of a state university system is the relationship between the individual institutions and the governing board. We hypothesize that the structure will impact both the pricing behavior as well as the market structure of the institutions. The more centralized the governance structure, the more aligned it will be with the interests of the state government. Assuming that the state's interest is to educate in-state students, those who are most likely to remain in-state therefore generating future tax revenue for the state, institutions with more centralized governance structure are more likely to offer in-state students a lower tuition price relative to out-of-state students. This hypothesis is tested with an OLS model using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) for the 1997-1998 academic year. We find that the ratio of out-of-state to in-state tuition is greatest among those institutions with the most centralized governance structures. They engage in the highest level of price discrimination relative to institutions with other types of governance structures. Using the classification of instructional programs, we calculate a weighted average of the percent of duplicate degrees for each type of governance structure. We find that as the governance structure becomes more centralized, the percentage of duplicate degrees in a field decreases across institutions within the same state. This suggests states with a more centralized structure have less homogeneous institutions and educational offerings.


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