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Policy Evaluation versus Explanation of Outcomes in Education: That Is, Is It the Teachers? Is It the Parents?


  • Richard Startz

    () (University of California, Santa Barbara)


Education reform advocates who base policy decisions on empirical research often face the argument that because background variables explain so much of student outcomes, it follows that policy interventions cannot be effective. This policy brief explains the logical fallacy in the argument, illustrating with two examples, one taken from the teacher quality literature and one taken from the class size literature. © 2012 Association for Education Finance and Policy

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Startz, 2012. "Policy Evaluation versus Explanation of Outcomes in Education: That Is, Is It the Teachers? Is It the Parents?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(3), pages 360-374, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:7:y:2012:i:3:p:360-374

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    student outcomes; teacher quality; class size;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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