Cassandra Hart Visits MPES

“Online Courses and High School Student Experiences

Cassandra Hart
Associate Professor of Education Policy
University of California, Davis

Wednesday, May 29th
1PM-2PM
617 Library Place

This talk explores several facets of online course-taking for high school students. A first set of analyses examines performance outcomes for high school students taking online courses in Florida. These analyses use fixed effects models to estimate differences in contemporaneous and downstream academic outcomes for students who take courses virtually and face-to-face—both for initial attempts and for credit recovery. We find that while contemporaneous outcomes are positive for virtual students in both settings, downstream outcomes vary by attempt type. For first-time course takers, virtual course taking is associated with decreases in the likelihood of taking and passing follow-on courses and in graduation readiness (based on a proxy measure). For credit recovery students, virtual course taking is associated with an increased likelihood of taking and passing follow-on courses and being in line for graduation. A second set of analyses looks descriptively at the extent to which online course offerings extend, rather than replace, the course offerings of brick-and-mortar high schools, and examines the characteristics associated with these different uses of online courses.

Cassandra Hart is an associate professor of education policy at the University of California, Davis. Hart’s research has focused on school choice programs, effects of online education on student outcomes, and effects on students of exposure to demographically similar teachers. Her research has been published in education and economics journals including Education Finance and Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Hart received her PhD in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 2011.

Vivian Wong Visits MPES

“Moving From What Works To What Replicates:
A New Framework for Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Vivian Wong
Assistant Professor of Research, Statistics, and Evaluation
University of Virginia

Monday, May 20th
12PM-1PM
Library Place 617

Given the central role of replication in the accumulation of scientific knowledge, researchers try to replicate seemingly well-established findings. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that results from many studies are fragile and hard to replicate. The so-called “replication crisis” has important implications for evidence-based decision-making in the health and social sciences. At the same time, there is intense debate about what constitutes a successful replication and why certain types of replication rates are so low. A crucial set of questions for evidence-based decision-making involve questions about external validity and replicability. We need to understand the contexts and conditions under which interventions produce similar outcomes. To address these challenges, I introduce a novel framework that provides a clear definition of replication, and highlights the conditions under which results are likely to replicate (Wong & Steiner, 2018). I present replication as a prospective research design. This makes it possible to define key assumptions for the direct replication of results, and to show how different replication designs can be derived and used to evaluate treatment effect heterogeneity. I argue that replication designs are feasible, desirable, and relevant in real world settings that are important for evidence-based decision-making.

Vivian C. Wong is a research methodologist in the field of Education. Currently, Dr. Wong is an Assistant Professor in Research, Statistics, and Evaluation in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on evaluating interventions in early childhood and K-12 systems. As a methodologist, her expertise is in improving the design, implementation and analysis of randomized experiments, regression-discontinuity, interrupted time series, and matching designs in field settings. She is currently examining the design, implementation, and analysis of replication studies in field settings, as well as developing innovative methods for evaluating No Child Left Behind. Dr. Wong participated in the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Training Program at Northwestern University, and received the Outstanding IES Predoctoral Fellow Award in 2010 for her dissertation work on “Addressing Theoretical and Practical Challenges in the Regression-Discontinuity Design.” She is a Principal Member of IES’s Statistics and Methodology review panel.

 

MPES Colloquium Talk with Lauren Bauer

“Developing an Education Policy Research Agenda outside Academia

Lauren Bauer
Fellow in Economic Studies
Brookings Institution

Monday, March 4th
12:45PM-2PM
Annenberg G02

The shift toward accountability policies for schools over the past two decades—first introduced in some states, and made national under the No Child Left Behind Act—has been central to efforts to assess and achieve progress in public education. The new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires state-led accountability systems to annually measure five indicators that assess progress toward the state’s long-term goals. The fifth indicator, of “school quality and student success” marked the first time that schools would be systematically held accountable for a metric other than student achievement or graduation rates. Dr. Bauer will discuss developing and implementing a research agenda that is relevant to this new policy parameter as well as to policymakers, regulatory processes, the media, and the public.

Northwestern’s Marcelo Worsley Give MPES Colloquium Talk

“Spatial Reasoning in Minecraft

Marcelo Worsley
Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Computer Science
Northwestern University

Wednesday, February 27th
12:45PM-2PM
Annenberg 303

Minecraft is often touted as a game that affords important Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning opportunities. Proponents are quick to note the ways that Minecraft might promote spatial reasoning, a skillset that strongly correlates with STEM proficiency. Despite this claim, few papers have chronicled in-game practices that might evidence spatial reasoning, or how we might study its development. In this paper, we describe both quantitative and qualitative evidence for correlations between Minecraft game play and spatial reasoning. At a high level, we see that students with more prior experience with Minecraft score higher on a spatial reasoning pre-test. While we do not attribute differences in spatial reasoning to Minecraft, our qualitative analyses surface a number of in-game practices that align with spatial reasoning. We chronicle some of these behaviors to highlight a set of practices that may be beneficial for studying the development of spatial reasoning in game-based environments.

MPES Colloquium Talk with Kelly Hallberg 2/20

Increasing Degree Attainment among Low-Income Community College Students: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Kelly Hallberg
Scientific Director, Poverty Lab
University of Chicago

Wednesday, February 20th
12:45PM-2PM
Annenberg 303

Community colleges have the potential to be powerful vehicles for social mobility in the United States. They enroll nearly half of all post-secondary students in the U.S. and graduates who earn an associate’s degree increase the family’s income by more than 30 percent over a lifetime. However, the vast majority of students who enroll in community colleges do not receive a degree within three years. The barriers to degree attainment are multi-faceted and interconnected, spanning the financial, academic, personal, and professional domains of students’ lives. Dr. Hallberg will present the preliminary findings from a randomized controlled trial studying a comprehensive program designed to address each of these barriers. One Million Degrees (OMD) is a non-profit organization serving community college students in the Chicago metro area that supports students financially, academically, personally, and professionally through last-dollar scholarships, skill-building workshops, advising, and coaching.

MPES Welcomes Na’ama Shenhav

“Selection into Identification in Fixed Effects Models, with Application to Head Start”

Na’ama Shenhav
Assistant Professor of Economics
Dartmouth College

Friday, October 19th, 2018
3:00-4:15 PM
Annenberg 303

Watch the stream/recording here!

Na’ama Shenhav is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on the role of policy incentives during childhood on long-run outcomes, as well as issues related to gender and inequality. Her recent work studies the education incentives of DACA; the external validity of fixed effects methods, and implications for Head Start estimates; and the impact of women’s suffrage laws.

MPES Colloquium with Alex Eble

“The Sins of the Parents: Persistence of gender bias across generations and the gender gap in math”

Alex Eble
Assistant Professor of Economics and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University

Friday, October 5th, 2018
12:30-1:45 PM
Annenberg 303

Watch the stream/recording here!

Alex Eble is Assistant Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Alex’s research focuses on the economics of education in developing countries, with a specific interest in understanding how imperfect information affects the formation of human capital. In a series of papers, he studies how early human capital investment decisions can be negatively affected by misinformation about one’s own ability stemming from exposure to gender bias. Alex also has ongoing research projects in China, India, Gambia, and Guinea Bissau evaluating education policy options in these countries. He earned his PhD in economics from Brown University, his MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and his BA in Economics and East Asian Languages and Cultures from Indiana University, Bloomington. He can speak and read Mandarin Chinese.

MPES Colloquium with Amanda Lewis

“Educational Marketplaces, Race, & Opportunity Hoarding”

Amanda Lewis
Professor of African American Studies & Sociology
University of Illinois at Chicago

Monday, June 4th, 2018
4:15-5:30 PM
Annenberg 303

Watch the stream/recording here!

Amanda E. Lewis is the Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities and on how our ideas about race get negotiated in everyday life. She has published several award winning books including (with co-author John Diamond) Despite the Best Intentions: Why racial inequality persists in good schools (Oxford University Press) and Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the color-line in classrooms and communities (Rutgers University Press ). Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Race and Society, and Anthropology and Education Quarterly, The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and The Du Bois Review.  She lectures and consults regularly on issues of educational equity and contemporary forms of racism.

MPES Welcomes Elira Kuka

“Do Human Capital Decisions Respond to the Returns to Education? Evidence from DACA”

Elira Kuka
Assistant Professor of Economics
Southern Methodist University

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
 1:00 – 2:00PM
Annenberg G02

Elira Kuka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Southern Methodist University, as well as a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Research Affiliate at IZA – Institute of Labor Economics. Prior to joining SMU in 2015, she received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Davis.

Elira’s research interests are centered around understanding how government policies affect individual behavior and family wellbeing, to what extent they provide social insurance, and how effectively they alleviate poverty and inequality. Specifically, her current work focuses on analyzing: i) the potential benefits of U.S. safety net programs, which include Unemployment Insurance (UI), Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); ii) policies that affect academic achievement and reduce socioeconomics gaps; and iii) the protective power of the U.S. safety net during recessions.

MPES Colloquium Talk with Marshall Jean 1/12

“On the Move: Assessing the Immediate Impacts of School and Residential Mobility on Student Achievement”

Marshall Jean
IPR Postdoctoral Fellow

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018
 12:00 – 1:00PM
Annenberg G02

Marshall Jean joined IPR in the summer of 2016 after receiving his PhD in Sociology and Certificate of Education Sciences from the University of Chicago. A native of Louisiana, he has taught in a public high school in France as well as undergraduate and graduate courses on education policy and statistics. He specializes in large-scale quantitative analysis. His recent research includes the study of how student mobility affects learning growth rates, the use of surveys of student perceptions in evaluating classroom environments, the effects of homogenous ability grouping and tracking on academic engagement and learning behaviors, and the interpretation of value-added test scores.