Student Success

Rational ignorance in education: A field experiment in student plagiarism

Plagiarism appears to be a common problem among college students, yet there is little evidence on the effectiveness of interventions designed to minimize plagiarism. This study presents the results of a field experiment that evaluated the effects of a web-based educational tutorial in reducing plagiarism. We found that assignment to the treatment group substantially reduced the likelihood of plagiarism, particularly among student with lower SAT scores who had the highest rates of plagiarism.

Social Identity and Achievement Gaps: Evidence from an Affirmation Intervention

One provocative explanation for the continued persistence of minority achievement gaps involves the performance-dampening anxiety thought to be experienced by minority students in highly evaluative settings (i.e., “stereotype threat”). Recent field-experimental studies suggest that modest, low-cost “buffering” interventions informed by this phenomenon may be highly effective at reducing minority achievement gaps.

Teachers' Preferences to Teach Underserved Students

To increase the supply of teachers into underserved schools, teacher educators and policymakers commonly use two approaches: (a) recruit individuals who already report strong preferences to work in underserved schools or (b) design pre-service preparation to increase preferences. Using survey and administrative data on more than 1,000 teachers in a large, urban district, this study provides some of the first district-level evidence for both approaches. Individuals with stronger underserved preferences and teachers of color were more likely to enter underserved schools.

Recruitment or Preparation? Investigating the Effects of Teacher Characteristics and Student Teaching

Some believe the solution to improving instructional quality in K-12 schools lies in identifying and recruiting certain kinds of individuals to the profession (e.g., academically talented, stronger commitment). Others believe that talented or committed individuals cannot become effective or enduring teachers without adequate preparation. Most prior literature examines either recruitment or preparation, rather than weighing evidence for both simultaneously.

Patterns and Trends in Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Academic Achievement Gaps

Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in academic achievement remain a stubborn feature of U.S. schooling. National studies consistently show that the average non-Hispanic black student scores well below the average non-Hispanic white student on standardized tests of math and reading skills, as does the average Hispanic student. Likewise, the average student from a low-income family scores much lower on such tests than students from higher-income families. Considerable attention has been focused on achievement gaps, particularly the black-white achievement gap.

Left Behind? The Effect of No Child Left Behind on Academic Achievement Gaps

One of the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; 20 U.S.C. § 6301) was to close racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps. Over a decade has passed since NCLB went into effect. In this paper we investigate whether the Act has been successful at narrowing racial achievement gaps. Overall, our analyses provide no support for the hypothesis that No Child Left Behind has led, on average, to a narrowing of racial achievement gaps.

Patterns and Trends in Racial Academic Achievement Gaps Among States, 1999-2011

In this paper we combine National Assessment of Educational Progress and state accountability test data to examine variation among states in achievement gap levels and trends. Although national trends in gaps have been well studied, little research has examined variation in gaps across states or the extent to which differences in state demographics or policies account for these differences.