nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒07‒19
ten papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Using Predictive Analytics to Track Students: Evidence from a Seven-College Experiment By Peter Leopold S. Bergman; Elizabeth Kopko; Julio Rodriguez
  2. Does lowering the bar help? Results from a natural experiment in high-stakes testing in Dutch primary education By Jacobs, Madelon; van der Velden, Rolf; van Vugt, Lynn
  3. The Long-Run Effects of Consequential School Accountability By Mansfield, Jonathan; Slichter, David
  4. Do Ethnically-Congruent Teachers Really Matter Little for Hispanic Students? A Re-Examination of the Data By Seah, Kelvin
  5. Deteriorated sleep quality does not explain the negative impact of smartphone use on academic performance By Simon Amez; Suncica Vujic; Margo Abrath; Stijn Baert
  6. Bye, bye, Hotel Mama, bye, bye good grades? Living in a student room and exam results in tertiary education By Amez, Simon; Baert, Stijn
  7. Financial education for youth: A randomized evaluation in Uruguay By Borraz, Fernando; Caro, Ana; Caño-Guiral, Maira; Roa, María José
  8. Educational Differences in Mortality and Hospitalisation for Cardiovascular Diseases for Males By Bijwaard, Govert
  9. Are There No Wage Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany? A Reassessment By Kamila Cygan-Rehm
  10. Skills, Degrees and Labor Market Inequality By Peter Q. Blair; Papia Debroy; Justin Heck

  1. By: Peter Leopold S. Bergman; Elizabeth Kopko; Julio Rodriguez
    Abstract: Tracking is widespread in U.S. education. In post-secondary education alone, at least 71% of colleges use a test to track students. However, there are concerns that the most frequently used college placement exams lack validity and reliability, and unnecessarily place students from under-represented groups into remedial courses. While recent research has shown that tracking can have positive effects on student learning, inaccurate placement has consequences: students face misaligned curricula and must pay tuition for remedial courses that do not bear credits toward graduation. We develop an alternative system to place students that uses predictive analytics to combine multiple measures into a placement instrument. Compared to colleges’ existing placement tests, the algorithm is more predictive of future performance. We then conduct an experiment across seven colleges to evaluate the algorithm’s effects on students. Placement rates into college-level courses increased substantially without reducing pass rates. Adjusting for multiple testing, algorithmic placement generally, though not always, narrowed gaps in college placement rates and remedial course taking across demographic groups. A detailed cost analysis shows that the algorithmic placement system is socially efficient: it saves costs for students while increasing college credits earned, which more than offsets increased costs for colleges. Costs could be reduced with improved data digitization as opposed to entering data by hand.
    Keywords: education, tracking, experiment, analytics
    JEL: I20 I24
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Jacobs, Madelon (ROA / Education and transition to work, RS: GSBE other - not theme-related research); van der Velden, Rolf (RS: GSBE Theme Learning and Work, ROA / Education and transition to work); van Vugt, Lynn (RS: GSBE Theme Learning and Work, ROA / Education and transition to work)
    Abstract: In many countries, high-stakes tests play an important role in the allocation of pupils to prestigious tracks or schools in secondary education or students to prestigious programs or colleges in tertiary education. It is not clear what would happen if the standards for these tests were systematically raised or lowered. Would that affect the subsequent educational career? This paper exploits a unique natural experiment in the Netherlands using the market entrance of two new suppliers of high-stakes tests in primary education. In the first year of introduction, these new tests were not yet properly calibrated: For one test the standards were too low, while for the other test they were too high, compared to the standards of the traditional test that continued to be the main supplier. We use high-quality register data and a within-schools-across-cohorts design to model the short- and long-term outcomes (i.e., change in teacher advice and actual track three years later) for the students that were affected by the new tests. We find evidence for short-term effects, but no evidence for long-term effects. This implies that the Dutch educational system is sufficiently flexible to allocate pupils to the appropriate track, even if a high-stakes test advice does not recommend the right track. At the same time, it also implies that lowering the bar is not a simple way to increase the share of students going to prestigious tracks.
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2021–06–17
  3. By: Mansfield, Jonathan (Binghamton University, New York); Slichter, David (Binghamton University, New York)
    Abstract: The rise of high-stakes accountability programs was one of the most noticeable changes in the U.S. education system during the 1990s and early 2000s. We measure the impact of these programs on students' long-run outcomes. We find that exposure to accountability modestly but detectably increased educational attainment – roughly .02 years per year of exposure. Effects on income were positive, but again modest and insignificant in most specifications. Lastly, if accountability had substantial effects on human capital, treated individuals would be expected to sort into occupations requiring greater use of tested (math and literacy) skills, potentially at the expense of non-tested skills. Instead, we find that accountability had virtually no effect on occupational requirements. Our results suggest that accountability was likely net beneficial for students' long-run outcomes, but not transformative.
    Keywords: accountability, long-run effects, teacher incentives, teaching to the test
    JEL: I28 J24 H0
    Date: 2021–06
  4. By: Seah, Kelvin (National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: While there is now much evidence in the literature that assignment to ethnically-congruent teachers results in better student outcomes like achievement and teachers' evaluations of their behavior for Black and White students, findings appear to be noticeably mixed for Hispanic students. This paper shows that a potential reason for the mixed findings for Hispanic students lies in the fact that previous studies have not adequately accounted for the cultural background of students and teachers. Unlike existing studies, which define matches to occur when a student and teacher report having the same race, I define matches to occur only if the student and teacher report having both the same race and native language. The rationale is that race and native language together provide a more complete picture of ethnic identity compared to only race. Employing a student fixed effects strategy, and comparing two different teachers' evaluations of the same student, I find that Hispanic students receive more favorable evaluations from Hispanic teachers who share the same native language than Hispanic teachers who speak a different native language or non-Hispanic teachers. This suggests that more coherent findings may emerge if researchers additionally consider native language in defining ethnic matches.
    Keywords: race and native language matching, Hispanic students, educational economics, student-teacher assignment
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: Simon Amez; Suncica Vujic; Margo Abrath; Stijn Baert (-)
    Abstract: University students’ smartphone use has recently been shown to negatively affect their academic performance. Surprisingly, research testing the empirical validity of potential mechanisms underlying this relationship is very limited. In particular, indirect effects of negative health consequences due to heavy smartphone use have never been investigated. To fill this gap, we investigate, for the first time, whether deteriorated sleep quality drives the negative impact on academic performance. To this end, we examine longtudinal data on 1,635 students at two major Belgian universities. Based on a combination of a random effects approach and seemingly unrelated regression, we find no statistically significant mediating effect of sleep quality in the relationship between smartphone use and academic performance.
    Keywords: smartphone use, academic performance, sleep quality, mediation analysis.
    JEL: I21 I23 J24
    Date: 2021–07
  6. By: Amez, Simon; Baert, Stijn
    Abstract: We study whether living in a student room as a tertiary education student (instead of commuting between one's parental residence and college or university) affects exam results. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to study this relationship beyond cross-sectional analysis. That is, we exploit rich longitudinal data on 1,653 Belgian freshmen students' residential status and exam scores to control for observed heterogeneity as well as for individual fixed (or random) effects. We find that after correcting for unobserved heterogeneity, the association found in earlier contributions disappears. This finding of no significant impact of living in a student room on exam results is robust for other methods used for causal inference including instrumental variable techniques.
    Keywords: esidential status,exam scores,longitudinal data,causality.
    JEL: I23 J24
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Borraz, Fernando; Caro, Ana; Caño-Guiral, Maira; Roa, María José
    Abstract: Using data from a randomized control trial in Uruguay, we evaluate the impact of an economic and financial education program targeted to senior high-school students. The program is based on an innovative playful approach workshop about monetary policy and financial supervision. We find that the workshop has a positive and significant impact on student knowledge. Our results shed light on the importance of economic and financial education for the youth in developing countries.
    Keywords: BCUEduca,economic education,youth,treatment effects
    JEL: A21 D12 I22 J24
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Bijwaard, Govert (NIDI - Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute)
    Abstract: High educated individuals are less frequently admitted to hospital for cardiovascular diseases and live longer than the lower educated. We address whether the educational gradient in the mortality rate can be explained by the educational difference in the timing of CVD hospitalisation. We account for possible selective hospitalisation, by using a correlated multistate hazard model (a 'Timing-of-events'- model) and, for selection into education, by using inverse propensity weighting based on the probability to attain higher education. We use Swedish Military Conscription Data (1951-1960), for males only, linked to administrative Swedish registers. Our empirical results indicate a clear educational gradient in mortality and in the impact of CVD hospitalisation on mortality. The implied educational gain in the number of months lost is, however, mainly due to other factors than CVD hospitalisation. Extending the analysis to cause specific mortality reveals that the largest educational differences exist in death due to external causes.
    Keywords: timing-of-events, CVD hospitalisation, mortality, education, inverse propensity weighting
    JEL: C41 I14 I24
    Date: 2021–06
  9. By: Kamila Cygan-Rehm
    Abstract: This study replicates and challenges the finding of zero wage returns to compulsory schooling in Germany by Pischke and von Wachter (Review of Economics and Statistics, 90(3), 592-598), which is unusual in the literature yet widely cited and until now uncontradicted. I document that this finding is sensitive to minor changes in sample restrictions and model specification. Further results suggest that their estimates are potentially confounded by previously unconsidered institutional details. These findings render the conclusion that compulsory schooling in Germany yields no wage returns at a minimum controversial.
    Keywords: returns to schooling, education, wages, Germany, replication, reassessment
    JEL: I21 I26 J31
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Peter Q. Blair; Papia Debroy; Justin Heck
    Abstract: Over the past four decades, income inequality grew significantly between workers with bachelor’s degrees and those with high school diplomas (often called “unskilled”). Rather than being unskilled, we argue that these workers are STARs because they are skilled through alternative routes—namely their work experience. Using the skill requirements of a worker’s current job as a proxy of their actual skill, we find that though both groups of workers make transitions to occupations requiring similar skills to their previous occupations, workers with bachelor’s degrees have dramatically better access to higher-wage occupations where the skill requirements exceed the workers’ observed skill. This measured opportunity gap offers a fresh explanation of income inequality by degree status and reestablishes the important role of on-the-job training in human capital formation.
    JEL: I24 I26 J01 J1 J2 J24 J3 J6 L2
    Date: 2021–07

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