Technology’s edge: the educational benefits of computer-aided instruction
Because a significant portion of U.S. students lacks critical mathematic skills, schools across the country are investing heavily in computerized curriculums as a way to enhance education output, even though there is surprisingly little evidence that they actually improve student achievement. In this paper we present results from a randomized study in three urban school districts of a well- defined use of computers in schools: a popular instructional computer program which is designed to teach pre-algebra and algebra. We assess the impact of the program using statewide tests that cover a ...
Private school location and neighborhood characteristics
Paying for performance: the education impacts of a community college scholarship program for low-income adults
We evaluate educational outcomes from an experiment which randomly assigned performancebased scholarship eligibility to students on community college campuses. Scholarships were awarded in three payments each semester over the course of two semesters. Payments were tied to students meeting two conditions?enrolling at least half time and maintaining a ?C? or better semester grade point average. We find that the program increased the likelihood a student was enrolled at the program institutions in both the first and second semesters after random assignment and increased the total number of ...
School choice through relocation: evidence from the Washington, D.C. area
In this paper I show how the monetary value that parents place on school quality may be inferred from their choice of residential location. The method identifies the valuation that parents place on school quality from the differential effect that measures of school quality have on the residential choices of households with and without children. I implement the method with data from the U.S. Census for Washington, D.C. using residential location decisions in 1990. For whites I find that school quality is an important determinant of residential choices and that households with children in the ...
Do returns to schooling differ by race and ethnicity?
Using data from the U.S. Decennial Census and the National Longitudinal Surveys, we find little evidence of differences in the return to schooling across racial and ethnic groups, even with attempts to control for ability and measurement error biases. While our point estimates are relatively similar across racial and ethnic groups, our conclusion is driven in part by relatively large standard errors. ; That said, we find no evidence that returns to schooling are lower for African Americans or Hispanics than for non-minorities. As a result, policies that increase education among the ...
Causality, causality, causality: the view of education inputs and outputs from economics
Educators and policy makers are increasingly intent on using scientifically-based evidence when making decisions about education policy. Thus, education research today must necessarily be focused on identifying the causal relationships between education inputs and student outcomes. In this paper we discuss methodologies for estimating the causal effect of resources on education outcomes; we also review what we believe to be the best evidence from economics on a few important inputs: spending, class size, teacher quality, the length of the school year, and technology. We conclude that while ...
The Role of Selective High Schools in Equalizing Educational Outcomes: Heterogeneous Effects by Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status
We investigate whether elite Chicago public high schools can help close the achievement gap between high-achieving students from more and less affluent neighborhoods. Seats are allocated based on prior achievement with 70 percent reserved for high-achieving applicants from four neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) categories. Using regression discontinuity design, we find no effect on test scores or college attendance for students from high- or low-SES neighborhoods and positive effects on student reports of their experiences. For students from low-SES neighborhoods, we estimate ...
Using market valuation to assess the importance and efficiency of public school spending
In this paper we take a "market-based" approach to examine whether increased school expenditures are valued by potential residents and whether the current level of public school provision is inefficient. We do so by employing an instrumental variables strategy to estimate the effect of state education aid on residential property values. We find evidence that, on average, additional state aid is valued by potential residents and that school districts appear to spend efficiently or, if anything, underspend. We also find that school districts spend less efficiently in areas in which they face ...
School vouchers and student achievement: recent evidence, remaining questions
In this article, we review the empirical evidence on the impact of education vouchers on student achievement, and briefly discuss the evidence from other forms of school choice. The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero. Further, what little evidence exists regarding the potential for public schools to respond to increased competitive pressure generated by vouchers suggests that one should remain wary that large improvements would result from a more comprehensive voucher ...
Not working: demographic changes, policy changes, and the distribution of weeks (not) worked
From 1978 to 2000 the fraction of adult men in full-year non-employment increased from 17.1 to 21.6 percent. Previous research focused on the role of disability insurance policy and wage structure changes to explain this increase. Using Current Population Surveys from 1979 to 2003 we assess how much of the changes in full-year non-employment can be explained by demographic changes, possibly linked to health. With our empirical strategy we examine how 1978 to 2000 changes in demographic characteristics would have changed the distribution of weeks worked if policies and macroeconomic conditions ...