NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Peter M. Crosta

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Working Papers and Chapters

October 2012Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation
with Judith Scott-Clayton, Clive R. Belfield: w18457
At an annual cost of roughly $7 billion nationally, remedial coursework is one of the single largest interventions intended to improve outcomes for underprepared college students. But like a costly medical treatment with non-trivial side effects, the value of remediation overall depends upon whether those most likely to benefit can be identified in advance. Our analysis uses administrative data and a rich predictive model to examine the accuracy of remedial screening tests, either instead of or in addition to using high school transcript data to determine remedial assignment. We find that roughly one in four test-takers in math and one in three test-takers in English are severely mis-assigned under current test-based policies, with mis-assignments to remediation much more common than mis-a...

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