Methodology, Measurement

Practical Issues in Estimating Achievement Gaps from Coarsened Data

Ho and Reardon (2012) present methods for estimating achievement gaps when test scores are coarsened into a small number of ordered categories, preventing fine-grained distinctions between individual scores. They demonstrate that gaps can nonetheless be estimated with minimal bias across a broad range of simulated and real coarsened data scenarios.

Bias and bias correction in multi-site instrumental variables analysis of heterogeneous mediator effects

We explore the use of instrumental variables (IV) analysis with a multi-site randomized trial to estimate the effect of a mediating variable on an outcome in cases where it can be assumed that the observed mediator is the only mechanism linking treatment assignment to outcomes, as assumption known in the instrumental variables literature as the exclusion restriction.

The early childhood classroom observation measure

This study assesses a new measure of earlychildhoodclassroom practice in 127 kindergarten- and first-grade classrooms. The measure was designed to be appropriate for classrooms serving children from the age of 4–7 years. It assesses the nature and quality of instruction as well as the social climate and management of the classroom. Two separate scales assess the degree to which constructivist, child-centered and the degree to which didactic, teacher-centered instructional practices are implemented.

OPTI: A measure of children's optimism

A measure of young children's generalized tendency to expect positive or negative outcomes (Optimism-Pessimism Test Instrument : OPTI) is described. Descriptive data and evidence for the measure's reliability for first- and second-grade children are provided. Validity is assessed by the measure's relationship to several other measures of personality constructs. Moderate but significant correlations were found between OPTI and attitude toward school, self-concept, delay of gratification, and locus of control.

Data watch: Research data in the economics of education

One reason for the recent proliferation of empirical studies addressing the role of education in promoting individual and social welfare has been the emergence of high-quality, micro-level data on education. In this paper, we discuss three broad types of data sets: data on educational institutions, data on educational outcomes at the individual level, and data sets from school reforms and experiments.

The contribution of administrative and experimental data to education policy research

The last decade has seen a surge in empirical research byeconomists addressing the impact of school reform poli-cies. This wave of research dates back to Card and Krueger(1992) and a series of analyses that look across the UnitedStates to test the effects of school inputs on outcomes such asachievement, educational attainment, and earnings. Many ofthese studies use either Census data (Heckman, Layne–Farrar,and Todd, 1996) or national longitudinal surveys (Betts 1996;Loeb and Bound, 1996; Grogger, 1996) to estimate input ef-fects.

Retail tobacco outlet density and youth smoking: A propensity modeling approach

OBJECTIVES: We examined whether retail tobacco outlet density was related to youth cigarette smoking after control for a diverse range of neighborhood characteristics.

METHODS: Data were gathered from 2116 respondents (aged 11 to 23 years) residing in 178 census tracts in Chicago, Ill. Propensity score stratification methods for continuous exposures were used to adjust for potentially confounding neighborhood characteristics, thus strengthening causal inferences.

Using experimental economics to measure the effects of a natural educational experiment on Altruism

Economic research examining how educational intervention programs affect primary and secondary schooling focuses largely on test scores although the interventions can affect many other outcomes. This paper examines how an educational intervention, avoucher program, affected students' altruism. The voucher program used a lottery to allocate scholarships among low-income applicant families with children in K-8th grade. By exploiting the lottery to identify the voucher effects, and using experimental economic methods, we measure the effects of the intervention on children's altruism.

Beyond the census tract: Patterns and determinants of racial residential segregation at multiple scales

The census tract—based residential segregation literature rests on problematic assumptions about geographic scale and proximity. We pursue a new tract-free approach that combines explicitly spatial concepts and methods to examine racial segregation across egocentric local environments of varying size. Using 2000 Census data for the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, we compute a spatially modified version of the information theory index H to describe patterns of Black—White, Hispanic-White, Asian-White, and multigroup segregation at different scales.