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Exam High Schools and Academic Achievement: Evidence from New York City

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  • Will Dobbie
  • Roland G. Fryer, Jr.

Abstract

Publicly funded exam schools educate many of the world's most talented students. These schools typically contain higher achieving peers, more rigorous instruction, and additional resources compared to regular public schools. This paper uses a sharp discontinuity in the admissions process at three prominent exam schools in New York City to provide the first causal estimate of the impact of attending an exam school in the United States on longer term academic outcomes. Attending an exam school increases the rigor of high school courses taken and the probability that a student graduates with an advanced high school degree. Surprisingly, however, attending an exam school has little impact on Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, college enrollment, or college graduation -- casting doubt on their ultimate long term impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2011. "Exam High Schools and Academic Achievement: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 17286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17286
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Dustan & Alain De janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2015. "Flourish or Fail? The Risky Reward of Elite High School Admission in Mexico City," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 15-00002, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    2. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Burgess, Simon & Dickson, Matt & Macmillan, Lindsey, 2014. "Selective Schooling Systems Increase Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 8505, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Fischer, Stefanie, 2017. "The downside of good peers: How classroom composition differentially affects men's and women's STEM persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 211-226.
    6. Miguel Urquiola, 2015. "Progress and challenges in achieving an evidence-based education policy in Latin America and the Caribbean," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 24(1), pages 1-30, December.
    7. Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2014. "Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 234-263, July.
    8. Barrow, Lisa & Sartain , Lauren & de la Torre, Marisa, 2016. "The Role of Selective High Schools in Equalizing Educational Outcomes: Heterogeneous Effects by Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status," Working Paper Series WP-2016-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Akyol, Pelin & Krishna, Kala, 2017. "Preferences, selection, and value added: A structural approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 89-117.
    10. Sarah R. Cohodes & Joshua S. Goodman, 2014. "Merit Aid, College Quality, and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 251-285, October.
    11. S. Pelin Akyol & Verónica Frisancho & Kala M. Krishna & Cemile Yavas, 2013. "Preferences, Selection, and Value Added: A Structural Approach Applied to Turkish Exam High Schools," CESifo Working Paper Series 4302, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2012. "Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," NBER Working Papers 18277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jackson, C. Kirabo, 2013. "Can higher-achieving peers explain the benefits to attending selective schools? Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 63-77.
    14. Clark, Damon & Del Bono, Emilia, 2014. "The Long-Run Effects of Attending an Elite School: Evidence from the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 8617, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. repec:hrv:hksfac:34298862 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt & Erin Robertson & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "What Can Be Done to Improve Struggling High Schools?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 133-152, Spring.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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