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Algebra for 8th Graders: Evidence on its Effects from 10 North Carolina Districts

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  • Charles T. Clotfelter
  • Helen F. Ladd
  • Jacob L. Vigdor

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of policies that increase the number of students who take the first course in algebra in 8th grade, rather than waiting until 9th grade. Extending previous research that focused on the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school system, we use data for the 10 largest districts in North Carolina. We identify the effects of accelerating the timetable for taking algebra by using data on multiple cohorts grouped by decile of prior achievement and exploiting the fact that policy-induced shifts in the timing of algebra occur at different times in different districts to different deciles of students. The expanded data make it possible to examine heterogeneity across students in the effect of taking algebra early. We find negative effects among students in the bottom 60% of the prior achievement distribution. In addition, we find other sources of heterogeneity in effects.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18649.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18649

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  1. Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2010. "Geographic Variation in the Gender Differences in Test Scores," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 95-108, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Cory Koedel & Mark Ehlert & Eric Parsons & Michael Podgursky & P. Brett Xiang, 2014. "Selecting Growth Measures for School and Teacher Evaluations," Working Papers 1401, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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