NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2015||Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses|
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Socioeconomic gaps in college enrollment and attainment have widened over time, despite increasing returns to postsecondary education and significant policy efforts to improve access. We describe the barriers that students face during the transition to college and review the evidence on potential policy solutions. We focus primarily on research that examines causal relationships using experimental or quasi-experimental methods, though we draw upon descriptive evidence to provide context. Our review is distinctive in three respects. First, in addition to the literature on financial aid, we examine the evidence on informational and behavioral interventions, academic programs, and affirmative action policies intended to improve college access. Second, we incorporate a wealth of recent researc...
Published: Lindsay C. Page & Judith Scott-Clayton, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, vol 51, pages 4-22.
|July 2015||Objective Course Placement and College Readiness: Evidence from Targeted Middle School Math Acceleration|
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Advanced math coursework can affect college and labor market outcomes, yet discretionary placement policies can lead to differential access at key points in the college preparatory pipeline. We examine a targeted approach to course assignment that uses prior test scores to identify middle school students deemed qualified for a college preparatory math sequence. Accelerated math placement of relatively low-skilled middle schoolers increases the fraction later enrolling in Precalculus by one-seventh, and by over one-third for female and non-low income students. Acceleration increases college readiness and intentions to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Course placement rules based on objective measures can identify students capable of completing rigorous coursework but whom discretionary systems m...
Published: 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. citation courtesy of
|August 2008||Trends in the Black-White Achievement Gap:Clarifying the Meaning of Within- and Between-School Achievement Gaps|
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We decompose black-white achievement gap trends between 1971 and 2004 into trends in within- and between-school differences. We show that the previous finding that narrowing within-school inequality explains most of the decline in the black-white achievement gap between 1971 and 1988 is sensitive to methodology. Employing a more detailed partition of achievement differences, we estimate that 40 percent of the narrowing of the gap through the 1970s and 1980s is attributable to the narrowing of within-school differences between black and white students. Further, the consequences for achievement of attending a high minority school became increasingly deleterious between 1971 and 1999.