NBER Working Papers by Lindsay C. Page

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Working Papers

December 2015Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses
with Judith Scott-Clayton: w21781
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 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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