Objective Course Placement and College Readiness: Evidence from Targeted Middle School Math Acceleration

50 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2015

See all articles by Shaun Dougherty

Shaun Dougherty

University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education

Joshua Goodman

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Darryl Hill

Wake County Public School System

Erica Litke

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education

Lindsay C. Page

University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2015

Abstract

Advanced math coursework can affect college and labor market outcomes, yet discretionary placement policies can lead to differential access at key points in the college preparatory pipeline. We examine a targeted approach to course assignment that uses prior test scores to identify middle school students deemed qualified for a college preparatory math sequence. Accelerated math placement of relatively low-skilled middle schoolers increases the fraction later enrolling in Precalculus by one-seventh, and by over one-third for female and non-low income students. Acceleration increases college readiness and intentions to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Course placement rules based on objective measures can identify students capable of completing rigorous coursework but whom discretionary systems might overlook.

Suggested Citation

Dougherty, Shaun and Goodman, Joshua and Hill, Darryl and Litke, Erica and Page, Lindsay C., Objective Course Placement and College Readiness: Evidence from Targeted Middle School Math Acceleration (July 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21395. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2636155

Shaun Dougherty (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education ( email )

CT
United States

Joshua Goodman

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/

Darryl Hill

Wake County Public School System ( email )

5625 Dillard Drive
Cary, NC 27518
United States

Erica Litke

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lindsay C. Page

University of Pittsburgh School of Education ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7166 (Phone)

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