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Experimental Estimates of the Impacts of Class Size on Test Scores: Robustness and Heterogeneity

  • Ding, Weili
  • Lehrer, Steven F.

Proponents of class size reductions draw heavily on the results from Project STAR to support their initiatives. Adding to the political appeal of these initiative are reports that minority and economically disadvantaged students received the largest benefits from smaller classes. We extend this research in two directions. First, to address correlated outcomes from the same class size treatment, we account for the over-rejection of the Null hypotheses by using multiple inference procedures. Second, we conduct a more detailed examination of the heterogeneous impacts of class size reductions on measures of cognitive and noncognitive achievement using more flexible models. We find that students with higher test scores received greater benefits from class size reductions. Furthermore, we present evidence that the main effects of the small class treatment are robust to corrections for the multiple hypotheses being tested. However, these same corrections lead the differential impacts of smaller classes by race and freelunch status to become statistically insignificant.

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Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series CLSSRN working papers with number clsrn_admin-2011-12.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 26 Jun 2011
Date of revision: 26 Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-12
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  1. Borghans Lex & Weel Bas ter & Weinberg Bruce A., 2007. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  5. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer, 2005. "Class Size and Student Achievement: Experimental Estimates of Who Benefits and Who Loses from Reductions," Working Papers 1046, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2010. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multiperiod Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 31-42, February.
  7. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:175-214 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Oriana Bandiera & Valentino Larcinese & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1365-1398, December.
  9. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  11. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  12. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
  13. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
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  15. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
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