Poverty and Inequality

Supporting Parenting through Differentiated and Personalized Text-Messaging: Testing Effects on Learning During Kindergarten

Recent studies have shown that texting-based interventions can produce educational benefits in children across a range of ages. These studies vary in their focus from broad curricula on child development, to reminders about missing work, to steps needed in order to enroll in college. Given the potential effectiveness of texting, as well as the ease of systematically varying texting programs so as to assess the effects of different approaches, texting provides a productive venue for learning about mechanisms behind program effects.

One Step at a Time: The Effects of an Early Literacy Text Messaging Program for Parents of Preschoolers

Substantial systematic differences exist in children’s home learning experiences. The few existing parenting programs that have shown promise often are not widely accessible, either due to the demands they place on parents’ time and effort or cost. In this study, we evaluate the effects of READY4K!, a text messaging program for parents of preschoolers designed to help them support their children’s literacy development.

The Economic Achievement Gap in the US, 1960-2020: Reconciling Recent Empirical Findings

Has the gap in average standardized test scores between students from high- and low-income families widened, narrowed, or remained stable over the last 3 decades? The question is important both because the achievement gap is measure of how (un)equally educational opportunities are distributed in the US, and because the disparity in educational outcomes is a leading indicator of the degree of economic mobility.

Spending More on the Poor? A Comprehensive Summary of State-Specific Responses to School Finance Reforms from 1990–2014

Sixty-seven school finance reforms (SFRs) in 26 states have taken place since 1990; however, there is little empirical evidence on the heterogeneity of SFR effects. We provide a comprehensive description of how individual reforms affected resource allocation to low- and high-income districts within states, including both financial and non-financial outcomes. After summarizing the heterogeneity of individual SFR impacts, we then examine its correlates, identifying both policy and legislative/political factors.

The Great Recession, Fiscal Federalism and the Consequences for Cross-District Spending Inequality

We examine the determinants of district spending and revenue shocks following the onset of the Great Recession and the role of fiscal federalism in mitigating these shocks. We test whether spending and revenue shocks were driven primarily by local labor market conditions or state finance centralization efforts.

The Effects of Blended Online Learning in Higher Education STEM Courses: Experimental Evidence from Mongolia

In low- and middle-income countries, institutions of higher education are turning to online models of instruction to reduce costs and broaden their educational reach. While a growing body of causal research can speak to the effectiveness of online models in the United States, there is little rigorous evidence about the use of online models in lower income countries. To fill this gap in the research, I use a randomized design to examine the effectiveness of a blended model in undergraduate STEM courses in Mongolia.

Increased Learning or GPA Inflation? Evidence from GPA-Based University Admission in Chile

A student's ranking in the grade point average (GPA) distribution has emerged as an admission variable that increases admission rates of both segregated minorities and high-performance individuals. In 2012, Chile's centralized university admission system introduced a GPA ranking variable relative to the previous cohorts' average GPA. Such a system introduces academic incentives to exert effort, but also to inflate GPA. In this paper, we analyze the effects of that reform on the GPA distribution and achievement measures.

Helping parents help their children

Many young children grow up without supportive home learning environments. One often cited study found that by the age of four, poor children hear about 30 million fewer words than wealthy children. This fissure manifests in great differences in children’s motor, social, emotional, literacy, and numeracy skills when they first start kindergarten, gaps that persist through school and into the labor market.]

Implementing the Foundations of Learning Project: Considerations for Preschool Intervention Research

While studies have documented the importance of strong implementation in intervention studies (e.g., see Durlak & Dupre, 2008), more information is needed about how to ensure strong fidelity and quality of program implementation when delivering interventions under “real world conditions” and on a large scale. In this article, key lessons in implementing a demonstration and evaluation project known as the Foundations of Learning (FOL) demonstration are presented.

A Report Card: How Are Secondary Vocational Schools in China Measuring Up to Government Benchmarks?

As a result of increasing interest among policymakers, secondary vocational schooling has expanded steadily during the past two decades in China. This paper assesses whether China’s secondary vocational schooling is measuring up to government benchmarks for quality, whether poor students have access to quality secondary vocational schooling, and whether poor students have financial aid assistance to attend. These government benchmarks include the following: teacher qualification and training, student opportunities for practical training, and adequate facilities.