IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/wly/jpamgt/v39y2020i3p772-800.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Heterogeneous Effects of Early Algebra across California Middle Schools

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew McEachin
  • Thurston Domina
  • Andrew Penner

Abstract

How should schools assign students to more rigorous math courses so as best to help their academic outcomes? We identify several hundred California middle schools that used 7th‐grade test scores to place students into 8th‐grade algebra courses and use a regression discontinuity design to estimate average impacts and heterogeneity across schools. Enrolling in 8th‐grade algebra boosts students’ enrollment in advanced math in ninth grade by 30 percentage points and eleventh grade by 16 percentage points. Math scores in tenth grade rise by 0.05 standard deviations. Women, students of color, and English‐language learners benefit disproportionately from placement into early algebra. Importantly, the benefits of 8th‐grade algebra are substantially larger in schools that set their eligibility threshold higher in the baseline achievement distribution. This suggests a potential tradeoff between increased access and rates of subsequent math success.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew McEachin & Thurston Domina & Andrew Penner, 2020. "Heterogeneous Effects of Early Algebra across California Middle Schools," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 39(3), pages 772-800, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:39:y:2020:i:3:p:772-800
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.22202
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.22202
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1002/pam.22202?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2013. "Explaining Charter School Effectiveness," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 1-27, October.
    2. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2015. "The Aftermath of Accelerating Algebra: Evidence from District Policy Initiatives," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 159-188.
    3. Sebastian Calonico & Matias D. Cattaneo & Rocio Titiunik, 2014. "Robust Nonparametric Confidence Intervals for Regression‐Discontinuity Designs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2295-2326, November.
    4. Kalena E. Cortes & Joshua S. Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2015. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 108-158.
    5. Christina Clark Tuttle & Philip Gleason & Virginia Knechtel & Ira Nichols-Barrer & Kevin Booker & Gregory Chojnacki & Thomas Coen & Lisbeth Goble, "undated". "Understanding the Effect of KIPP as it Scales: Volume I, Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 7d8e94c5e77a4a9c8bf09000d, Mathematica Policy Research.
    6. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1237-1258, September.
    7. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
    8. Bertrand, Marianne & Hanna, Rema & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2010. "Affirmative action in education: Evidence from engineering college admissions in India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 16-29, February.
    9. Heather Rose & Julian R. Betts, 2004. "The Effect of High School Courses on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 497-513, May.
    10. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    11. Andrew Gelman & Guido Imbens, 2019. "Why High-Order Polynomials Should Not Be Used in Regression Discontinuity Designs," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 447-456, July.
    12. Virginia Knechtel & Mary Anne Anderson & Alyson Burnett & Thomas Coen & Margaret Sullivan & Christina Clark Tuttle & Philip Gleason, 2015. "Understanding the Effect of KIPP as it Scales: Volume II, Leadership Practices at KIPP," Mathematica Policy Research Reports f877f1b198ab4bf1b2849b09d, Mathematica Policy Research.
    13. Dougherty, Shaun M. & Goodman, Joshua S. & Hill, Darryl V. & Litke, Erica G. & Page, Lindsay C., 2017. "Objective course placement and college readiness: Evidence from targeted middle school math acceleration," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 141-161.
    14. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    15. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
    16. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 177-218.
    17. Goodman, Joshua & Hurwitz, Michael & Smith, Jonathan, 2015. "College Access, Initial College Choice and Degree Completion," Working Paper Series rwp14-030, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    18. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2017. "Risky Business? The Effect of Majoring in Business on Earnings and Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 23575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Matias D. Cattaneo & Michael Jansson & Xinwei Ma, 2018. "Manipulation testing based on density discontinuity," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 18(1), pages 234-261, March.
    20. Christina Clark Tuttle & Philip Gleason & Virginia Knechtel & Ira Nichols-Barrer & Kevin Booker & Gregory Chojnacki & Thomas Coen & Lisbeth Goble, "undated". "Understanding the Effect of KIPP as it Scales: Volume I, Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes (Executive Summary)," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 29bd80d4c7bf491f84e9e7d37, Mathematica Policy Research.
    21. Dougherty, Shaun & Joshua Goodman & Darryl Hill & Erica Litke & Lindsay Page, "undated". "Middle School Math Acceleration and Equitable Access to 8th Grade Algebra: Evidence from the Wake County Public School System," Working Paper 175236, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    22. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    23. Joshua Goodman, 2019. "The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory High School Math Coursework," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 1141-1182.
    24. Matthew P. Steinberg, 2014. "Does Greater Autonomy Improve School Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Analysis in Chicago," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-35, January.
    25. Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill & James A. Riccio, 2003. "Linking program implementation and effectiveness: Lessons from a pooled sample of welfare-to-work experiments," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 551-575.
    26. Sebastian Calonico & Matias D. Cattaneo & Max H. Farrell & Roc ́ıo Titiunik, 2017. "rdrobust: Software for regression-discontinuity designs," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 17(2), pages 372-404, June.
    27. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    28. Jessica Pan, 2015. "Gender Segregation in Occupations: The Role of Tipping and Social Interactions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 365-408.
    29. John P. Papay & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2016. "The Impact of Test Score Labels on Human-Capital Investment Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 357-388.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fort, Margherita & Ichino, Andrea & Rettore, Enrico & Zanella, Giulio, 2022. "Multi-cutoff RD designs with observations located at each cutoff: problems and solutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 16974, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Blaise Melly & Rafael Lalive, 2020. "Estimation, Inference, and Interpretation in the Regression Discontinuity Design," Diskussionsschriften dp2016, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    2. Onda, Masayuki & Seyler, Edward, 2020. "English learners reclassification and academic achievement: Evidence from Minnesota," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    3. Mauricio Villamizar‐Villegas & Freddy A. Pinzon‐Puerto & Maria Alejandra Ruiz‐Sanchez, 2022. "A comprehensive history of regression discontinuity designs: An empirical survey of the last 60 years," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 1130-1178, September.
    4. Burgherr, David, 2022. "Behavioral Responses to a Pension Savings Mandate : Quasi-experimental Evidence from Swiss Tax Data," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 645, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Matteo Picchio & Jan C. van Ours, 2020. "Mental Health Effects of Retirement," De Economist, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 419-452, September.
    6. Yang He & Otávio Bartalotti, 2020. "Wild bootstrap for fuzzy regression discontinuity designs: obtaining robust bias-corrected confidence intervals [Using Maimonides’ rule to estimate the effect of class size on scholastic achievemen," The Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 23(2), pages 211-231.
    7. Bartalotti Otávio, 2019. "Regression Discontinuity and Heteroskedasticity Robust Standard Errors: Evidence from a Fixed-Bandwidth Approximation," Journal of Econometric Methods, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, January.
    8. Owen Ozier, 2018. "The Impact of Secondary Schooling in Kenya: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(1), pages 157-188.
    9. Matias D. Cattaneo & Rocio Titiunik & Gonzalo Vazquez-Bare, 2019. "The Regression Discontinuity Design," Papers 1906.04242, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2020.
    10. Crespo Cristian, 2020. "Beyond Manipulation: Administrative Sorting in Regression Discontinuity Designs," Journal of Causal Inference, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 164-181, January.
    11. Nicholas Barton & Tessa Bold & Justin Sandefur, 2017. "Measuring Rents from Public Employment: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya - Working Paper 457," Working Papers 457, Center for Global Development.
    12. Barton, Nicholas & Bold, Tessa & Sandefur, Justin, 2017. "Measuring Rents from Public Employment: Regression discontinuity evidence from Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 12105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Kabir Dasgupta & Christopher Erwin & Alexander Plum, 2020. "The Devil is in the Details: Identifying the Unbiased Link between Access to Alcohol and Criminal Behavior," Working Papers 2020-12, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    14. Crespo Cristian, 2020. "Beyond Manipulation: Administrative Sorting in Regression Discontinuity Designs," Journal of Causal Inference, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 164-181, January.
    15. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2020. "The impact of health insurance on stockholding: A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    16. Meltem Dayioglu Tayfur & Muserref Kucukbayrak & Semih Tumen, 2020. "The Impact of Age-Specific Minimum Wages on Youth Employment and Education: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Working Papers 1431, Economic Research Forum, revised 20 Dec 2020.
    17. Feng, Andy & Graetz, Georg, 2017. "A question of degree: The effects of degree class on labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 140-161.
    18. Montoya, Ana Maria & Noton, Carlos & Solis, Alex, 2018. "The Returns to College Choice: Loans, Scholarships and Labor Outcomes," Working Paper Series 2018:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    19. Bütikofer, Aline & Ginja, Rita & Landaud, Fanny & Løken, Katrine V., 2020. "School Selectivity, Peers, and Mental Health," Working Papers in Economics 5/20, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    20. Paolo Pinotti, 2017. "Clicking on Heaven's Door: The Effect of Immigrant Legalization on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(1), pages 138-168, January.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:39:y:2020:i:3:p:772-800. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.