NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Objective Course Placement and College Readiness: Evidence from Targeted Middle School Math Acceleration

Shaun Dougherty, Joshua Goodman, Darryl Hill, Erica Litke, Lindsay C. Page

NBER Working Paper No. 21395
Issued in July 2015
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

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 might overlook.

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This paper was revised on April 4, 2017

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21395

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

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