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Tenure and tenure reform are in the news of late given the Vergara decision in CA and similar efforts challenging tenure laws in NY. This CALDER...

New Publication

August 26, 2016

We use statewide administrative data from Missouri to examine the role of high schools in explaining students’ initial college and major placements at 4-year public universities. Conditional on a student’s own academic preparation, the high school attended predicts the rigor of the initial university, and within the university, the rigor of the initial major. We identify a relatively sparse set of school characteristics – and characteristics of schools’ local communities – that account for much of the explanatory power of high schools. Complementing previous studies, we show that students from low-SES high schools enroll in less rigorous universities than their similarly-qualified peers from high- SES high schools. Students from low-SES schools also enroll in less rigorous majors within universities. Black-white gaps in the rigor of the initial college and major can be explained entirely by students’ own pre-entry academic preparation and a small number of high school and neighborhood characteristics. 

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