ECONOMICS EDUCATOR: COURSES, CASES & TEACHING eJOURNAL

"The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w21865

THOMAS DEE, Stanford University
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EMILY PENNER, Stanford University
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An extensive theoretical and qualitative literature stresses the promise of instructional practices and content aligned with the cultural experiences of minority students. Ethnic studies courses provide a growing but controversial example of such ‚Äúculturally relevant pedagogy.‚Ä? However, the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these courses is limited. In this study, we estimate the causal effects of an ethnic studies curriculum piloted in several San Francisco high schools. We rely on a ‚Äúfuzzy‚Ä? regression discontinuity design based on the fact that several schools assigned students with eighth-grade GPAs below a threshold to take the course in ninth grade. Our results indicate that assignment to this course increased ninth-grade student attendance by 21 percentage points, GPA by 1.4 grade points, and credits earned by 23. These surprisingly large effects are consistent with the hypothesis that the course reduced dropout rates and suggest that culturally relevant teaching, when implemented in a supportive, high-fidelity context, can provide effective support to at-risk students.

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Economics Educator: Courses, Cases & Teaching eJournal

SAM ANTHONY ALLGOOD
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Economics

WILLIAM L. GOFFE
Associate Professor of Economics, SUNY Oswego - Department of Economics

PAUL W. GRIMES
Dean, Kelce College of Business, Pittsburg State University, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Mississippi State University - College of Business

KIMMARIE MCGOLDRICK
Professor of Economics, University of Richmond - E. Claiborne Robins School of Business

MICHAEL W. WATTS
Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Education, Purdue University - Department of Economics