Evaluating the Gifted Program of an Urban School District using a Modified Regression Discontinuity Design
This paper examines the impact of a gifted program on retention in an urban school district using a regression discontinuity design. Gifted programs often employ IQ thresholds for admission, with those above the threshold being admitted. One common problem with the RD design arises if the forcing variable (the IQ score) is manipulated, thus invalidating the standard research design. We proposed a modified RD estimator that deals with manipulation in the forcing variable. Once we properly correct for manipulation of test scores around the cut-off points, we find evidence that the gifted program offered by the district has a positive effect on retention of higher income students.
We would like to thank William Dickens, Guido Imbens, Brian Junker, Allen Ruby, Robert Siegler, and seminar participants at numerous conferences and universities for comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank the "mid-sized urban school district'' for sharing their data. Andrea Phillips provided excellent research assistance. Financial support for this research is provided by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES R305A070117 and R305D090016). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.