Search EdWorkingPapers

EdWorkingPapers

Lesley J. Turner, Oded Gurantz.

College attendance has increased significantly over the last few decades, but dropout rates remain high, with fewer than half of all adults ultimately obtaining a postsecondary credential. This project investigates whether one-on-one college coaching improves college attendance and completion outcomes for former low- and middle-income income state aid recipients who attended college but left prior to earning a degree. We conducted a randomized control trial with approximately 8,000 former students in their early- to mid-20s. Half of participants assigned to the treatment group were offered the opportunity to receive coaching services from InsideTrack, with all communication done remotely via phone or video. Intent-to-treat analyses based on assignment to coaching shows no impacts on college enrollment and we can rule out effects larger than a two-percentage point (5%) increase in subsequent Fall enrollment.

More →


Jane Arnold Lincove, Catherine Mata, Kalena E. Cortes.

This research uses the implementation of a school suspension ban in Maryland to test whether a top-down state-initiated ban on suspensions in early primary grades can influence school behavior regarding school discipline. Beginning in the fall of 2017, the State of Maryland banned the use of out-of-school suspensions for grades PK-2, unless a student posed an “imminent threat” to staff or students. This research investigates (1) what was the effect of the ban on discipline outcomes for students in both treated grades and upper elementary grades not subject to the ban? (2) did schools bypass the ban by coding more events as threatening or increasing the use of in-school suspensions? and (3) were there differential effects for students in groups that are historically suspended more often? Using a comparative interrupted time series strategy, we find that the ban is associated with a substantial reduction in, but not a total elimination of, out-of-school suspensions for targeted grades without substitution of in-school suspensions. Disproportionalities by race and other characteristics remain after the ban. Grades not subject to the ban experienced few effects, suggesting the ban did not trigger a schoolwide response that reduced exclusionary discipline.

More →


Jennifer Darling-Aduana, Carolyn J. Heinrich, Jeremy Noonan, Jialing Wu, Kathryn Enriquez.

Online credit recovery (OCR) courses are the most common means through which students retake courses required for high school graduation. Yet a growing body of research has raised concerns regarding student learning in these courses, with low quality assessments posited as one contributing factor. To address this concern, we reviewed every assessment item from a widely used OCR Algebra 1 course. We also examined pathways for passing the course mastery tests without learning content. In addition, we identified if and how states regulate OCR. We found OCR assessments as executed lacked rigor and validity. We offer recommendations to improve rigor, close pathways that call into question the validity of results, strengthen implementation procedures, and increase state-level oversight of providers.

More →


Sofia Baker, Cory Koedel.

We study changes to teacher working conditions from 2016-17 to 2022-23, covering school years before, during, and after the COVID pandemic. We show working conditions were improving leading into the pandemic but declined when the pandemic arrived. Perhaps more surprisingly, the pandemic was not a low point: teacher working conditions have continued to decline during the post-pandemic period. Teachers report worsening working conditions along many dimensions including the level of classroom disruptions, student responsibility, and safety, among others. They also report declines in trust between themselves and principals, parents, and other teachers. Trends in working conditions since the pandemic are similar in schools serving more and less socioeconomically advantaged students. However, schools in districts where online learning was the predominant mode of instruction during the 2020-21 school year have experienced larger declines than other schools.

More →


Jackie E. Relyea, Joshua B. Gilbert, Mary A. Burkhauser, Ethan Scherer, Douglas M. Mosher, Zhongyu Wei, Johanna N. Tvedt, James S. Kim.

Scaling up evidence-based educational interventions to improve student outcomes presents challenges, particularly in adapting to new contexts while maintaining fidelity. Structured teacher adaptations that integrate the strengths of experimental science (high fidelity) and improvement science (high adaptation) offer a viable solution to bridge the research-practice divide. This preregistered randomized controlled trial study examines the effectiveness of structured teacher adaptations in a Tier 1 content literacy intervention delivered through asynchronous and synchronous methods during COVID-19 on Grade 3 students’ (N = 1,914) engagement in digital app and print-based reading activities, student-teacher interactions, and learning outcomes. Our structured teacher adaptations achieved higher average outcomes and minimal treatment heterogeneity across schools, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the intervention rather than undermining it.

More →


David B. Monaghan, Elizabeth A. Hawke.

“Free college” programs are widespread in American higher education. They are discussed as addressing college access, affordability, inequality, and skills shortages. Many are last-dollar tuition guarantees restricted to use at single community colleges. Using student-level data spanning the transition to college, we investigate how two similar local community college tuition guarantees in Pennsylvania affected college-going outcomes. The Morgan Success Scholarship has large impacts on community college attendance and associate degree attainment. The program diverts students away from four-year colleges, though much of this effect is temporary. Meanwhile, we find little evidence that the Community College of Philadelphia’s 50th Anniversary Scholars program has any impact on college-going behavior. We suggest reasons for divergent findings and offer suggestions for practice.

More →


Shirley H. Xu, Francisco Arturo Santelli, Jason A. Grissom, Brendan Bartanen, Susan Kemper Patrick.

Teachers of color often work in schools with few colleagues from the same racial or ethnic background. This racial isolation may affect their work experiences and important job outcomes, including retention. Using longitudinal administrative and survey data, we investigate the degree to which Tennessee teachers who are more racially isolated are more likely to turn over. Accounting for other factors, we find that racially isolated Black teachers are more likely to leave their schools than less isolated teachers. This turnover is driven by transfers to a different district and exiting the profession altogether. Consistent with an explanation that isolated teachers’ work experiences differ, they also report less collaboration with colleagues and receive lower observation scores.

More →


Alvin Christian, Matthew Ronfeldt, Basit Zafar.

We survey undergraduate students at a large public university to understand the pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors driving their college major and career decisions with a focus on K-12 teaching. While the average student reports there is a 6% chance they will pursue teaching, almost 27% report a nonzero chance of working as a teacher in the future. Students, relative to existing statistics, generally believe they would earn substantially more in a non-teaching job (relative to a teaching job). We run a randomized information experiment where we provide students with information on the pecuniary and non-pecuniary job characteristics of teachers and non-teachers. This low-cost informational intervention impacts students' beliefs about their job characteristics if they were to work as a teacher or non-teacher, and increases the reported likelihood they will major or minor in education by 35% and pursue a job as a teacher or in education by 14%. Linking the survey data with administrative transcript records, we find that the intervention had small (and weak) impacts on the decision to minor in education in the subsequent year. Overall, our results indicate that students hold biased beliefs about their career prospects, they update these beliefs when provided with information, and that this information has limited impacts on their choices regarding studying and having a career in teaching.

More →


Margaret Leighton, Anitha Martine, Julius Massaga, Emmanuel Bunzari.

This paper presents causal evidence on the impact of parenting practices on early child development. We exploit exogenous changes in nurturing care induced by a parent training intervention to estimate the impact of nurturing parenting practices on child outcomes. We find a large and significant impact measured at age two; in contrast, at age four nurturing care has only a modest, and imprecisely estimated, impact on child outcomes. This is despite the fact that the intervention induced substantial changes in parenting practices at both ages. The differential relationship between child development and nurturing care at ages two and four explains the fade-out in treatment effects for the intervention as a whole: although parents continued to respond, their response no longer had the intended effect on child outcomes.

More →


Matthew H. Lee, John Thompson, Eric Wearne.

Hybrid school enrollments are trending up and many parents express a diverse range of reasons for enrolling their children in hybrid schools. Yet little is known about the pedagogical goals pursued by hybrid schools. We aim to help close this gap in the literature with a stated preferences experiment of hybrid school leaders’ perceptions of program success. Sixty-three school leaders participated in a survey experiment in which we randomly assigned attributes to hypothetical programs and asked school leaders to identify the most successful program. We find that hybrid school leaders consider a broad range of student outcomes when evaluating program success, including labor market outcomes, civic outcomes, and family life. Students’ religious observance produced the largest effect sizes, a reasonable finding considering that roughly two-thirds of the schools represented in our sample have some religious affiliation. We do not find evidence that test score outcomes and higher education matriculation contribute meaningfully to perceived success.

More →