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Estimating the Productivity of Community Colleges in Paving the Road to Four-Year Success

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  • Scott E. Carrell
  • Michal Kurlaender

Abstract

The distinct mission and open-access nature of community colleges and the diverse goals of the students they serve make it difficult to assess differences in quality across community college campuses. In this paper, we investigate institutional differences in both the extensive and intensive margin of the transfer function across California's 108 community college campuses. Importantly, due to the richness of our dataset, we are able to adjust our estimates for a host of observed student differences, including scores on 11th grade math and English standardized tests. Results show there is significant variation in community college quality for both the probability of transfer as well as outcomes measuring how well students perform after transferring. Additionally, we examine whether any observable characteristics of the community college are significantly correlated with transfer productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott E. Carrell & Michal Kurlaender, 2016. "Estimating the Productivity of Community Colleges in Paving the Road to Four-Year Success," NBER Working Papers 22904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22904
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2009. "Addressing the Needs of Underprepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    3. Jonathan Smith & Kevin Stange, 2016. "A New Measure of College Quality to Study the Effects of College Sector and Peers on Degree Attainment," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(4), pages 369-403, Fall.
    4. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1553-1623.
    5. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, June.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:30750027 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Joseph G. Altonji & Richard K. Mansfield, 2014. "Group-Average Observables as Controls for Sorting on Unobservables When Estimating Group Treatment Effects: the Case of School and Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 20781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1999. "The Community College: Educating Students at the Margin between College and Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 63-84, Winter.
    9. Bridget Terry Long & Michal Kurlaender, 2008. "Do Community Colleges provide a Viable Pathway to a Baccalaureate Degree?," NBER Working Papers 14367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Calcagno, Juan Carlos & Bailey, Thomas & Jenkins, Davis & Kienzl, Gregory & Leinbach, Timothy, 2008. "Community college student success: What institutional characteristics make a difference?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 632-645, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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