Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra

47 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013 Last revised: 18 Jun 2013

See all articles by Kalena E. Cortes

Kalena E. Cortes

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joshua Goodman

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Takako Nomi

Saint Louis University - College of Education and Public Service

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 24, 2013

Abstract

Success or failure in freshman math has long been thought to have a strong impact on subsequent high school outcomes. We study an intensive math instruction policy in which students scoring below average on an 8th grade exam were assigned in 9th grade to an algebra course that doubled instructional time, altered peer composition and emphasized problem solving skills. Using a regression discontinuity design, we show positive and substantial longrun impacts of double-dose algebra on standardized test scores, high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates. The attainment effects were larger than the test score effects would predict, highlighting the importance of evaluating educational interventions on longerrun outcomes. Perhaps because the intervention focused on verbal exposition of mathematical concepts, the intervention’s impact was generated largely by students with below average reading skills, highlighting the importance of targeting interventions towards appropriately skilled students. This is the first evidence we know of demonstrating the long-run impacts of such intensive math instruction.

Keywords: Double-dose algebra, high school math, high school graduation, college enrollment, curriculum, instructional time

JEL Classification: I21, I23, I24

Suggested Citation

Cortes, Kalena E. and Goodman, Joshua and Nomi, Takako, Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra (January 24, 2013). HKS Working Paper No. RWP13-009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2248171 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2248171

Kalena E. Cortes

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service ( email )

TAMU 4220
1004 George Bush Dr West
College Station, TX 77843
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Joshua Goodman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/joshua-goodman/

Takako Nomi

Saint Louis University - College of Education and Public Service ( email )

3500 Lindell Blvd
Fitzgerald Hall
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States
314-977-2495 (Phone)

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