Sunday, August 3, 2008

ASA Day 2

The stream of interesting papers continues here in Boston. Here are some tidbits from today:

-In a paper on racial inequalities in learning, Priyank Shah found that higher expectations of a child's future educational attainment was much more strongly related to higher achievement among White and Asian students than among Black and Hispanic students. Additionally, Parents of Blacks and Hispanics expected higher educational attainment than did Whites.

-In a paper on the roles of class and race on achievement, Dennis Condron found that school exacerbates the achievement between black and white first graders -- i.e. it was larger at the end of the year than at the beginning of the year -- but shrinks the gap between upper and lower class students. He attributes the effect to the segregation currently present in schools, as students in schools with high-minority populations performed the worst.

-In a paper on Desegregation, Argun Saatcioglu found that desegregation improved the odds of graduation among Cleveland students despite the fact that overall graduation rates didn't rise. Cohorts that went through high school before and after desegregation were harmed by their schools while a cohort that attended during the desegregation era was actually helped by their schools -- especially Black students. Using fixed-effects he found that about 20% of the variation in graduation rates was attributable to school factors and about 80% were due to home factors.

-In a paper on Charter Schools and Segregation, Deborah Marie Warnock found that increasing numbers of charter schools in Ohio caused the traditional public schools in those districts to be more economically segregated. She used a measure called the dissimilarity index to arrive at her conclusion.

-In another paper on school choice and segregation, Kristie Phillips, Charles Hausman, and Elisabeth Stuart looked at who transferred schools in a district with open enrollment. In other words, any kid in the district could enroll in any school in the district (though none of the schools were charter). They found that students were less likely to transfer to another school if they were an English Language Learner, had a single parent, or were eligible for free/reduced price lunch but that students were more likely to transfer when they were zoned for schools with over 50% free/reduced price lunch eligible students. Additionally, wealthier students were zoned for better schools than poorer students but also transferred into better schools than the ones to which poorer students transferred.

One more day to go and I hear there's going to be a stellar presentation tomorrow.

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