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Experimental estimates of the impacts of class size on test scores: robustness and heterogeneity

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  • Weili Ding
  • Steven Lehrer

Abstract

Proponents of class size reductions (CSRs) draw heavily on the results from Project Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio to support their initiatives. Adding to the political appeal of these initiative are reports that minority and economically disadvantaged students received the largest benefits from smaller classes. We extend this research in two directions. First, to address correlated outcomes from the same class size treatment, we account for the over-rejection of the Null hypotheses by using multiple inference procedures. Second, we conduct a more detailed examination of the heterogeneous impacts of CSRs on measures of cognitive and non-cognitive achievement using more flexible models. We find that students with higher test scores received greater benefits from CSRs. Furthermore, we present evidence that the main effects of the small class treatment are robust to corrections for the multiple hypotheses being tested. However, these same corrections lead the differential impacts of smaller classes by race and free-lunch status to become statistically insignificant.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09645292.2011.589142
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Education Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 229-252

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:19:y:2011:i:3:p:229-252

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References

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  1. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
  2. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates Of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532, May.
  4. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  5. Bandiera, Oriana & Larcinese, Valentino & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students," IZA Discussion Papers 4496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2009. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multi-Period Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions," NBER Working Papers 15200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yoav Benjamini & Abba M. Krieger & Daniel Yekutieli, 2006. "Adaptive linear step-up procedures that control the false discovery rate," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 93(3), pages 491-507, September.
  8. Borghans, Lex & ter Weel, Bas & Weinberg, Bruce A., 2006. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2466, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  10. SErgio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Textos para discussão 533, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  11. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  12. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer, 2005. "Class Size and Student Achievement: Experimental Estimates of Who Benefits and Who Loses from Reductions," Working Papers 1046, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F., 2014. "Understanding the role of time-varying unobserved ability heterogeneity in education production," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 55-75.

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