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Program and policy effects

Displaying 31 - 40 of 493

Carly D. Robinson, Cynthia Pollard, Sarah Novicoff, Sara White, Susanna Loeb.

In-person tutoring has been shown to improve academic achievement. Though less well-researched, virtual tutoring has also shown a positive effect on achievement but has only been studied in grade five or above. We present findings from the first randomized controlled trial of virtual tutoring for young children (grades K-2). Students were assigned to 1:1 tutoring, 2:1 tutoring, or a control group. Assignment to any virtual tutoring increased early literacy skills by 0.05-0.08 SD with the largest effects for 1:1 tutoring (0.07-0.12 SD). Students initially scoring well below benchmark and first graders experienced the largest gains from 1:1 tutoring (0.15 and 0.20 SD, respectively). Effects are smaller than typically seen from in-person early literacy tutoring programs but still positive and statistically significant, suggesting promise particularly in communities with in-person staffing challenges.

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Steven Michael Carlo.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested the civic, or citizenship knowledge of students across the nation at irregular intervals since its very inception. Despite advancements in reading and mathematics, evidenced by results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), civics proficiency has remained consistently low, which raises concerns among educators and policymakers. This study attempts to provide those educators and policymakers with state-level predictions, not currently provided for the civics assessment. This research addresses this gap in state-level civics education data by applying multilevel regression with poststratification (MRP) to NAEP's nationally representative civics scores, yielding state-specific estimates that account for student demographics. A historical analysis of NAEP's development underscores its significance in national education and highlights the challenges of transitioning to state-level reporting, particularly for civics, which lacks state-level generalizability. Furthermore, this paper evaluates NAEP's frameworks, questioning their alignment with civics education's evolving needs, and investigates the presence of opportunity gaps in civics knowledge across gender and racial/ethnic lines. By comparing MRP estimates with published NAEP results, the study validates the method's credibility and emphasizes the potential of MRP in educational research. The findings reveal persistent racial/ethnic disparities in civic knowledge, with profound implications for civics instruction and policy. The research concludes by stressing the necessity for state-specific data to inform education policy and practice, advocating for teaching methods that enhance civic understanding and engagement, and suggesting future research directions to address the uncovered disparities.

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Douglas N. Harris, Jonathan Mills.

We provide evidence about college financial aid from an eight-year randomized trial where high school ninth graders received a $12,000 merit-based grant offer. The program was designed to be free of tuition/fees at community colleges and substantially lower the cost of four-year colleges. During high school, it increased students’ college expectations and low-cost effort, but not higher-cost effort, such as class attendance. The program likely increased two-year college graduation, perhaps because of the free college framing, but did not affect overall college entry, graduation, employment, incarceration, or teen pregnancy. Additional analysis helps explain these modest effects and variation in results across prior studies.

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Maxwell J. Cook, Cory Koedel, Michael Reda.

We estimate the education and earnings returns to enrolling in technical two-year degree programs at community colleges in Missouri. A unique feature of the Missouri context is the presence of a highly regarded, nationally ranked technical college: State Technical College of Missouri (State Tech). We find that enrolling in a technical program in Missouri increases the likelihood of associate degree attainment and post-enrollment earnings, but that the positive effects statewide are driven largely by students who attend State Tech. These findings demonstrate the potential for a high-performing community college to change students’ education and labor market trajectories. At the same time, they exemplify the potential for substantial institutional heterogeneity in the returns to postsecondary education.

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Matthew A. Kraft, Melissa Arnold Lyon.

We examine the state of the U.S. K-12 teaching profession over the last half century by compiling nationally representative time-series data on four interrelated constructs: occupational prestige, interest among students, the number of individuals preparing for entry, and on-the-job satisfaction. We find a consistent and dynamic pattern across every measure: a rapid decline in the 1970s, a swift rise in the 1980s extending into the mid 1990s, relative stability, and then a sustained decline beginning around 2010. The current state of the teaching profession is at or near its lowest levels in 50 years. We identify and explore a range of hypotheses that might explain these historical patterns including economic and sociopolitical factors, education policies, and school environments.

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Jack Mountjoy.

This paper studies the causal impacts of public universities on the outcomes of their marginally admitted students. I use administrative admission records spanning all 35 public universities in Texas, which collectively enroll 10 percent of American public university students, to systematically identify and employ decentralized cutoffs in SAT/ACT scores that generate discontinuities in admission and enrollment. The typical marginally admitted student completes an additional year of education in the four-year sector, is 12 percentage points more likely to earn a bachelor's degree, and eventually earns 5-10 percent more than their marginally rejected but otherwise identical counterpart. Marginally admitted students pay no additional tuition costs thanks to offsetting grant aid; cost-benefit calculations show internal rates of return of 19-23 percent for the marginal students themselves, 10-12 percent for society (which must pay for the additional education), and 3-4 percent for the government budget. Finally, I develop a method to disentangle separate effects for students on the extensive margin of the four-year sector versus those who would fall back to another four-year school if rejected. Substantially larger extensive margin effects drive the results.

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Douglas D. Ready, Sierra G. McCormick, Rebecca J. Shmoys.

This paper describes a 12-week cluster randomized controlled trial that examined the efficacy of BookNook, a virtual tutoring platform focused on reading. Cohorts of first- through fourth-grade students attending six Rocketship public charter schools in Northern California were randomly assigned within grades to receive BookNook. Intent-to-Treat models indicate that students in cohorts assigned to BookNook outperformed their control-group peers by roughly 0.05 SDs. Given the substantial variability in usage rates among students enrolled in BookNook cohorts, we also leveraged Treatment-on-the-Treated approaches. These models suggest that students who completed 10 or more BookNook sessions experienced a reading advantage of 0.08 SDs, while those who completed 20 or more sessions—the recommended dosage—experienced a 0.26 SD developmental advantage.

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NaYoung Hwang.

This study examines the impact of special education on academic and behavioral outcomes for students with learning disabilities (LD) by using statewide Indiana data covering kindergarten through eighth grade. The results from student fixed effects models show that special education services improve achievement in math and English Language Arts, but they also increase suspensions and absences for students with LD. These effects vary across student subgroups, including gender, race/ethnicity, eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, and English language learner status. The findings reveal both the significant benefits and unintended consequences of special education services for students with LD, highlighting the complex dynamics and varying effects of special education.

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Jesper Eriksen, Shaun M. Dougherty.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs are prevalent in a European context, but often struggle with drop-out rates that exceed those of general upper-secondary education. Using Danish administrative data, we study the effects of reform-induced reductions in shares of VET students who did not pass their lower secondary final exams on passing GPA VET students. We find that passing students have a higher probability of remaining enrolled in VET after the first year of studies when entering a VET school with a higher share of below-passing peers. Studying outside options, we find that students become less likely to drop out of education entirely. The results are consistent with models of peer effects in which particularly unmotivated students become points of comparison for their peers, increasing their motivation and likelihood of remaining enrolled.

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Arielle Boguslav.

Despite the common title of “coach,” definitions of high-quality coaching vary tremendously across models and programs. Yet, few studies make comparisons across different models to understand what is most helpful, for whom, and under what circumstances. As a result, practitioners are left with many options and little evidence-based direction. This is exacerbated by the literature’s focus on more abstract features of coaching practice (e.g. building trust), leaving practitioners to figure out what concrete discourse strategies support these goals. This paper begins to address these challenges by introducing a taxonomy of coaching “moves,” parsing the concrete details of coach discourse. While the taxonomy is informed by the literature, it highlights conceptual possibilities rather than providing a list of empirically-grounded or “evidence-based” strategies. In doing so, this taxonomy may serve as a common language to guide future work exploring how coach discourse shapes teacher development, synthesizing across studies, and supporting coach practice.

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