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Causal Inference in Education Research Seminar (CIERS): More Gains Than Score Gains? High School Quality and College Success

Daniel Hubbard, University of Michigan

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Test-score value-added models have become very popular metrics to determine
school quality, but they focus solely on how students perform while they attend the school being evaluated, rather than how that school prepares them to succeed after graduation. A narrow focus on improving test scores may crowd out investments in student learning that may have more persistent e ffects. I measure the test-score value added of all public high schools in Michigan, then match the results onto student transcripts from public colleges in Michigan to determine the relationship between schools' ability to improve student test scores and the college achievement of their alumni. I find that students who attend high schools with higher value added perform better in college, both in tested and untested subjects; a student who attends a high school one standard deviation above the mean level of value added will have first-year grades about 0.09 grade points higher than the grades of an identical student in an average high school. The effect remains positive and highly significant after a variety of adjustments
to deal with selection into college and into high school. This result implies that schools with high value added are not earning those scores by teaching to the test or by reallocating resources toward tested subjects, but instead by preparing students effectively to perform well in the standardized test and beyond.
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When and Where

Map Weill Hall (Ford School) - 3240

September 2017

8:30am - 10:00am

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