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Spillover effects of inclusion of classmates with emotional problems on test scores in early elementary school

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  • Jason Fletcher

    (Assistant Professor, Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, Yale University)

Abstract

Over the last decade, the federal government has directed schools to provide educational instruction for students with special needs in general education settings to the extent possible. While there is mixed evidence on the effects of these inclusion policies on the students with special needs, research examining potential spillovers of inclusion on non-disabled classmates has been scarce. There is particularly little research on the effects of inclusion policies on classmates during early elementary grades. This paper begins to fill in this gap by using a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of kindergartners. Cross-sectional results suggest that having a classmate with an emotional problem decreases reading and math scores at the end of kindergarten and first grade by over 10 percent of a standard deviation, which is one-third to one-half of the minority test score gap. To control for nonrandom sorting of students to schools, as well as students to classrooms, this paper uses school-level and then student-level fixed effects. Results from the preferred empirical models suggest a decrease of approximately 5 percent of a standard deviation in math and reading scores, though the reading results are less robust. The results also indicate moderate racial and gender differences in the effects. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Fletcher, 2010. "Spillover effects of inclusion of classmates with emotional problems on test scores in early elementary school," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 69-83.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:1:p:69-83
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20479
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20479
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    2. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "Inferring Program Effects for Special Populations: Does Special Education Raise Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 584-599, November.
    3. Jason M. Fletcher, 2009. "The Effects of Inclusion on Classmates of Students with Special Needs: The Case of Serious Emotional Problems," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(3), pages 278-299, July.
    4. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dhuey, Elizabeth & Lipscomb, Stephen, 2010. "Disabled or young? Relative age and special education diagnoses in schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 857-872, October.
    2. Iversen, Jon Marius Vaag & Bonesrønning, Hans, 2015. "Conditional gender peer effects?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 19-28.
    3. Cho, Rosa Minhyo, 2012. "Are there peer effects associated with having English Language Learner (ELL) classmates? Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K)," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 629-643.
    4. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:15-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jason Fletcher & Nicole Hair & Barbara Wolfe, 2012. "Am I my Brother's Keeper? Sibling Spillover Effects: The Case of Developmental Disabilities and Externalizing Behavior," CEPR Discussion Papers 668, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    6. Dylan Conger, 2015. "Foreign-born Peers and Academic Performance," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(2), pages 569-592, April.
    7. Evans, William N. & Morrill, Melinda S. & Parente, Stephen T., 2010. "Measuring inappropriate medical diagnosis and treatment in survey data: The case of ADHD among school-age children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 657-673, September.

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