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Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra

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Author Info

  • Cortes, Kalena

    (TX A&M University)

  • Goodman, Joshua

    (Harvard University)

  • Nomi, Takako

    (St Louis University)

Abstract

Success or failure in freshman math has long been thought to have a strong impact on subsequent high school outcomes. We study an intensive math instruction policy in which students scoring below average on an 8th grade exam were assigned in 9th grade to an algebra course that doubled instructional time, altered peer composition and emphasized problem solving skills. Using a regression discontinuity design, we show positive and substantial long-run impacts of double-dose algebra on standardized test scores, high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates. The attainment effects were larger than the test score effects would predict, highlighting the importance of evaluating educational interventions on longer-run outcomes. Perhaps because the intervention focused on verbal exposition of mathematical concepts, the intervention's impact was generated largely by students with below average reading skills, highlighting the importance of targeting interventions towards appropriately skilled students. This is the first evidence we know of demonstrating the long-run impacts of such intensive math instruction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp13-009.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp13-009

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References

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Cited by:
  1. David J. Deming & Sarah Cohodes & Jennifer Jennings & Christopher Jencks, 2013. "School Accountability, Postsecondary Attainment and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 19444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cortes, Kalena E. & Moussa, Wael S. & Weinstein, Jeffrey M., 2013. "Educating bright students in urban schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 286-297.

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