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Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competition

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  • Glenn Ellison
  • Ashley Swanson
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    Abstract

    This paper explores differences in the frequency with which students from different schools reach high levels of math achievement. Data from the American Mathematics Competitions is used to produce counts of high-scoring students from more than two thousand public, coeducational, non-magnet, non-charter U.S. high schools. High-achieving students are found to be very far from evenly distributed. There are strong demographic predictors of high achievement. There are also large differences among seemingly similar schools. The unobserved heterogeneity across schools includes a thick tail of schools that produce many more high-achieving students than the average school. Gender-related differences and other breakdowns are also discussed.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-07/cesifo1_wp3903.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3903.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3903

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    Related research

    Keywords: gifted education; unobserved heterogeneity; school quality; semiparametric count data models; AMC; American Mathematics Competition; mathematics education;

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    1. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2009. "The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," NBER Working Papers 15238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2009. "Are High Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Social Experiment in Harlem," NBER Working Papers 15473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for private schooling in colombia: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00203, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. Cameron, A Colin & Johansson, Per, 1997. "Count Data Regression Using Series Expansions: With Applications," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 203-23, May-June.
    5. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2011. "Exam High Schools and Academic Achievement: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 17286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gurmu, Shiferaw & Rilstone, Paul & Stern, Steven, 1998. "Semiparametric estimation of count regression models1," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 123-150, November.
    7. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2002. "Teachers and student achievement in the Chicago public high schools," Working Paper Series WP-02-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    8. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2010. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence From Project STAR," NBER Working Papers 16381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Brannas, Kurt & Rosenqvist, Gunnar, 1994. "Semiparametric estimation of heterogeneous count data models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 247-258, July.
    10. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2002. "School Choice and School Productivity (or Could School Choice be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?)," NBER Working Papers 8873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Sa A. Bui & Steven G. Craig & Scott A. Imberman, 2011. "Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 17089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Thomas J. Kane & Jonah E. Rockoff & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 12155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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