Publications

Displaying 1 - 20 of 187
Working Paper 180
Aug 2017
Author(s):

The world is experiencing the second largest refugee crisis in a century, and one of the major points of contention involves the possible adverse effects of incoming refugees on host communities. We examine the effects of a large refugee influx into Florida public schools following the Haitian earthquake of 2010 using unique matched birth and schooling records...

Working Paper 179
Jun 2017
Author(s):
Eric Parsons, Cory Koedel, Li Tan

We study the relative performance of two policy relevant value-added models – a one-step fixed effect model and a two-step aggregated residuals model – using a simulated dataset well grounded in the value-added literature. A key feature of our data generating process is that student achievement depends on a continuous measure of economic disadvantage...

Working Paper 178
Jun 2017
Author(s):
Dan Goldhaber, Mark C. Long, Trevor Gratz, Jordan Rooklyn

An increasingly prevalent type of program designed to address college attainment gaps are state-based financial aid programs that offer low-income middle school students a promise of funding for college in exchange for making a pledge to do well in high school, be a good citizen and not be convicted of a felony, and apply for financial aid to college...

Working Paper 177
Sep 2017
Author(s):

We use longitudinal data on all high school students in Washington State, including postsecondary education and workforce outcomes, to investigate predictors of intermediate and postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities. We pay particular attention to career and technical education (CTE) enrollment and the extent of inclusion in general education classrooms, as prior research suggests these factors may be particularly important in influencing the outcomes of students with disabilities...

Working Paper 176
Jan 2017
Author(s):
Steven Hemelt, Matthew Lenard, Colleen Paeplow

Modern career academies aim to prepare students for college and the labor market. This paper examines the profile of students entering such academies in one school district and estimates causal effects of participation in one of the district’s well-regarded academies on a range of high school and college outcomes. Using rich administrative data from the Wake County Public School System, we find that students who enter contemporary career academies are generally higher performing than their non-academy peers. Further, we document that Hispanic students and those with limited English proficiency are somewhat less likely to enroll than other students, even after we control for differences in prior academic achievement and high school choice sets. Exploiting the lottery-based admissions process of one technology-focused academy, we then estimate causal effects of participation in a career academy on high school attendance, achievement, and graduation, as well as college-going. We find that enrollment in this academy increases the likelihood of high school graduation and college enrollment each by about 8 percentage points, with the attainment gains concentrated among male students. We also find that academy participation reduces 9th grade absences but has little influence on academic performance, AP course-taking, or AP exam success during high school. Analysis of candidate mechanisms suggests that roughly one fifth of the overall high school graduation effect can be attributed to improved student engagement in high school.

Working Paper 175
Jan 2017
Author(s):
Dan Goldhaber, Mark C. Long, Ann E. Person, Jordan Rooklyn

We investigate factors influencing student sign-ups for Washington State’s College Bound Scholarship (CBS) program. We find a substantial share of eligible middle school students fail to sign the CBS, forgoing college financial aid. Student characteristics associated with signing the scholarship parallel characteristics of low-income students who attend 4-year colleges. Simulations suggest the program may address college enrollment gaps, increasing college-going by some disadvantaged groups, it also would reinforce inequalities in college-going that exist between sub-groups of low-income students. Finally, student sign-up rates are lower than has been previously reported. Importantly, we find a perception among program administrators that nearly all eligible students sign up, which shifts attention away from sign-ups to encouraging pledgees to follow through with program requirements.  

Working Paper 174
Jan 2017
Author(s):
David Figlio, Paola Giuliano, Umut Özek, Paola Sapienza

We use remarkable population-level administrative education and birth records from Florida to study the role of Long-Term Orientation on the educational attainment of immigrant students living in the US. Controlling for the quality of schools and individual characteristics, students from countries with long term oriented attitudes perform better than students from cultures that do not emphasize the importance of delayed gratification. These students perform better in third grade reading and math tests, have larger test score gains over time, have fewer absences and disciplinary incidents, are less likely to repeat grades, and are more likely to graduate from high school in four years. Also, they are more likely to enroll in advanced high school courses, especially in scientific subjects. Parents from long term oriented cultures are more likely to secure better educational opportunities for their children. A larger fraction of immigrants speaking the same language in the school amplifies the effect of Long-Term Orientation on educational performance. We validate these results using a sample of immigrant students living in 37 different countries.

Working Paper 173
Dec 2016
Author(s):
Benjamin Backes, Dan Goldhaber, Whitney Cade, Kate Sullivan , Melissa Dodson

UTeach is a well-known, university-based program designed to increase the number of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers in the workforce. The UTeach program was originally developed by faculty at the University of Texas at Austin but has rapidly spread and is now available at 44 universities in 21 states; it is expected to produce more than 9,000 math and science teachers by 2020. Despite substantial investment and rapid program diffusion, there is little evidence to date about the effectiveness of UTeach graduates. Using administrative data from the state of Texas, we measure UTeach impacts on student test scores in math and science in middle schools and high schools. We find that students taught by UTeach teachers perform significantly better on end-of-grade tests in math and end-of-course tests in math and science by 5% to 12% of a standard deviation on the test, depending on grade and subject. The effect is larger for the founding site at the University of Texas at Austin than for replication UTeach sites, with estimated upper bounds of additional months of learning for students taught by UTeach Austin graduates of 4.0 months in high school math and 5.7 months in high school science. Controlling for the selectivity of the undergraduate institution appears to explain the differential between Austin and replication UTeach sites, but not the overall difference between UTeach and non-UTeach teachers.

Working Paper 172
Dec 2016
Author(s):
Dan Goldhaber, Michael Hansen, Joe Walch

We rely on natural experiments in North Carolina and Washington State, which previously extended time to tenure by one year, to estimate models that assess the relationship between the extended probationary period and absence and attrition outcomes for teachers affected by the new tenure laws. Across both states we find evidence of decreases in teacher absences for probationary teachers who are subject to the new extended tenure laws, and in Washington, we find a significant reduction in absences in the specific year in which tenure was extended. We find mixed evidence for teacher attrition and mobility.

Working Paper 171
Dec 2016
Author(s):
Dan Goldhaber, Vanessa Quince , Roddy Theobald

There is mounting evidence of substantial “teacher quality gaps” (TQGs) between advantaged and disadvantaged students, but practically no empirical evidence about their history. We use longitudinal data on public school students, teachers, and schools from two states—North Carolina and Washington—to provide a descriptive history of the evolution of TQGs in these states. We find that TQGs exist in every year in each state and for all measures we consider of student disadvantage and teacher quality. But there is variation in the magnitudes and sources of TQGs over time, between the two states, and depending on the measure of student disadvantage and teacher quality.

Working Paper 170
Nov 2016
Author(s):
Eric Hanushek, Steven Rivkin, Jeffrey Schiman

It is widely believed that teacher turnover adversely affects the quality of instruction in urban schools serving predominantly disadvantaged children, and a growing body of research investigates various components of turnover effects. The evidence at first seems contradictory, as the quality of instruction appears to decline following turnover despite the fact that most work shows higher attrition for less effective teachers. This raises concerns that confounding factors bias estimates of transition differences in teacher effectiveness, the adverse effects of turnover or both. After taking more extensive steps to account for nonrandom sorting of students into classrooms and endogenous teacher exits and grade-switching, we replicate existing findings of adverse selection out of schools and negative effects of turnover in lower-achievement schools. But we find that these turnover effects can be fully accounted for by the resulting loss in experience and productivity loss following the reallocation of some incumbent teachers to different grades.

Working Paper 169
Aug 2017

This paper examines the influence of teacher assistants and other personnel on student outcomes in elementary schools during a period of recession-induced cutbacks in teachers and teacher assistants. Using panel data from North Carolina, we exploit the state’s unique system of financing its local public...

Working Paper 168
Jul 2017
Author(s):
Julie Berry Cullen, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons

Improving public sector workforce quality is challenging in sectors such as education where worker productivity is difficult to assess and manager incentives are muted by political and bureaucratic constraints. In this paper, we study how providing improved information to principals about teacher effectiveness and encouraging them to use the information in personnel decisions affects the composition of teacher turnovers. Our setting is the Houston Independent School District...

Working Paper 167
Sep 2016
Author(s):
Christina LiCalsi, Umut Özek, David Figlio

Educational accountability policies are a popular tool to close the achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. However, these policies may exacerbate inequality if families from advantaged backgrounds are better able to advocate for their children and thus circumvent policy. We investigate this possibility in the context of the early grade retention policy in Florida, which requires all students with reading skills below grade level to be retained in the third grade, yet grants exemptions under special circumstances. We find that Florida’s third-grade retention policy is in fact enforced differentially depending on children’s socioeconomic background, especially maternal education. Holding exemption eligibility constant, scoring right below the promotion cutoff results increases the retention probability 14 percent more for children whose mothers have less than a high school degree as compared to children whose mothers have a bachelor’s degree or more. We also find that the discrepancies in retention rates are mainly driven by the fact that students with well-educated mothers are more likely to be promoted based on subjective exemptions such as teacher portfolios.

Working Paper 166
Aug 2017
Author(s):
Dongwoo Kim, Cory Koedel, Shawn Ni, Michael Podgursky

State-specific licensing policies and pension plans create mobility costs for educators who cross state lines. We empirically test whether these costs affect production in schools – a hypothesis that follows directly from economic theory on labor frictions – using geocoded data on school locations and state boundaries. We find that achievement is lower in mathematics, and to a lesser extent in reading, at schools that are more exposed to state boundaries...

Working Paper 165
Apr 2017
Author(s):
Rajeev Darolia, Cory Koedel

We use statewide administrative data from Missouri to examine the role of high schools in explaining student sorting to colleges and majors at 4-year public universities. We develop a “preparation and persistence index” (PPI) for each university-by-major cell in the Missouri system that captures dimensions of selectivity and rigor and allows for a detailed investigation of sorting...

Working Paper 164
Jul 2017
Author(s):
Dongwoo Kim, Cory Koedel, Shawn Ni, Michael Podgursky, Weiwei Wu

Public school teachers retire much earlier than comparable professionals. Pension rule changes affecting new teachers can be used to close this gap in the long run, but any effects will not be observed for decades and the implications for workforce quality are unclear. This paper considers targeted incentive policies designed to retain experienced high-need teachers, of retirement age, as instruments to extend current teachers’ careers. We use structural estimates from a dynamic retirement model to simulate the workforce effects of targeted...

Working Paper 163
Jul 2016

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effects of this increase in the mandated minimum number of math courses. This assessment entails two separate questions. One is whether the policy affected actual course-taking among high school students. Another question is whether any such changes in high school course-taking, together with the threat of being denied admission, affected college enrollment patterns or students’ choices or performance once enrolled.

Working Paper 162
Jun 2016
Author(s):

We find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first generation immigrants perform better than do second generation immigrants, and second generation immigrants perform better than third generation immigrants.  

Working Paper 161
Jun 2016
Author(s):
David Figlio, Jeffrey Roth, Kryzsztof Karbownik

We argue that the family disadvantage gradient in the gender gap is a causal effect of the post-natal environment: family disadvantage has no relationship with the sibling gender gap in neonatal health. Although family disadvantage is strongly correlated with school and neighborhood quality, the SES gradient in the sibling gender gap is almost as large within schools and neighborhoods as between them. A surprising implication of these findings is that, relative to white children, black boys fare worse than their sisters in significant part because black children— both boys and girls—are raised in more disadvantaged family environments.