Monday, August 24, 2015

Education and Achievement Gaps

This recent talk by Harvard economist and education researcher Roland Fryer reviews studies of student incentives, charter schools, best educational practices, and their effects on achievement gaps.  Audio  Slides (the features in the image below are not clickable).

A very recent preprint on a study of parental incentives:
Parental Incentives and Early Childhood Achievement: A Field Experiment in Chicago Heights

Roland G. Fryer, Jr.
Harvard University and NBER

Steven D. Levitt
University of Chicago and NBER

John A. List
University of Chicago and NBER

August 2015

This article describes a randomized field experiment in which parents were provided financial incentives to engage in behaviors designed to increase early childhood cognitive and executive function skills through a parent academy. Parents were rewarded for attendance at early childhood sessions, completing homework assignments with their children, and for their child’s demonstration of mastery on interim assessments. This intervention had large and statistically significant positive impacts on both cognitive and non-cognitive test scores of Hispanics and Whites, but no impact on Blacks. These differential outcomes across races are not attributable to differences in observable characteristics (e.g. family size, mother’s age, mother’s education) or to the intensity of engagement with the program. Children with above median (pre-treatment) non cognitive scores accrue the most benefits from treatment.

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