NBER Publications by Lindsay C. Page

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Working Papers and Chapters

July 2015Early Math Coursework and College Readiness: Evidence from Targeted Middle School Math Acceleration
with Shaun Dougherty, Joshua Goodman, Darryl Hill, Erica Litke: w21395
To better prepare students for college-level math and the demands of the labor market, school systems have tried to increase the rigor of students’ math coursework. The failure of universal “Algebra for All” models has led recently to more targeted approaches. We study one such approach in Wake County, North Carolina, which began using prior test scores to assign middle school students to an accelerated math track culminating in eighth grade algebra. The policy has reduced the role that income and race played in course assignment. A regression discontinuity design exploiting the eligibility threshold shows that acceleration has no clear effect on test scores but lowers middle school course grades. Acceleration does, however, raise the probability of taking and passing geometry in ninth gra...
August 2008Trends in the Black-White Achievement Gap:Clarifying the Meaning of Within- and Between-School Achievement Gaps
with Richard J. Murnane, John B. Willett: w14213
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.

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