Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra
We study an intensive math instruction policy that assigned low-skilled 9th graders to an algebra course that doubled instructional time, altered peer composition and emphasized problem solving skills. A regression discontinuity design shows substantial positive impacts of double-dose algebra on credits earned, test scores, high school graduation and college enrollment rates. Test score effects under-predict attainment effects, highlighting the importance of long-run evaluation of such a policy. Perhaps because the intervention focused on verbal exposition of mathematical concepts, the impact was largest for students with below average reading skills, emphasizing the need to target interventions toward appropriately skilled students.
We are indebted to Chicago Public Schools for sharing their data with us and to Sue Sporte, Director of Research Operations, Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) for facilitating this sharing. Special thanks for helpful comments from Richard Murnane, Bridget Terry Long, Jeffrey D. Kubik, Lori Taylor, Jacob Vigdor, Caroline Hoxby, Martin West, Kevin Stange, and Nora Gordon, as well as seminar and conference participants at Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance, the State of Texas Education Research Center at Texas A&M University, the Association for Education Finance and Policy, the NBER Economics of Education Program, UT-Austin's Economics Department and the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Colin Sullivan, Heather Sarsons and Shelby Lin provided outstanding research assistance. This research was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences under award R305A120466. Institutional support from Texas A&M University and Harvard's Taubman Center for State and Local Government are also gratefully acknowledged. Research results, conclusions and all errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Kalena E. Cortes & Joshua S. Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2015. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 108-158. citation courtesy of