Education Finance and Policy

Making the Most of School Vacation: A Field Experiment of Small Group Math Instruction

One of educators’ most daunting challenges is to help students who have fallen significantly behind academically. A promising, though expensive, strategy is individualized instruction or tutoring. A more cost-effective option might be to provide small group instruction to students over a week-long vacation period. This approach was adopted by a number of school districts in Massachusetts, and early evaluations of their work suggested positive results.

Effects of Teacher Specialization in Elementary Schools

Teachers are an integral part of the education system. Establishing policies to increase the effectiveness of teachers is of critical interest to both policymakers and school administrators. Prior research finds benefits of middle and high school level teachers specializing in instruction of particular subjects. However, we know far less about the effects of teacher specialization at the elementary school level. A new study by Kevin Bastian and Kevin Fortner, in vol. 15, issue 2 of EFP, advances our understanding of elementary school teacher specialization.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application Behavior

College access and enrollment vary considerably across racial and socioeconomic groups in the United States. Students’ own college application decisions are an important, but often overlooked, component of college access. A new study by Sandra Black, Kalena Cortes, and Jane Lincove in vol. 15, issue 2 of EFP expands our current knowledge of college access by investigating application decisions.

Effects of Teacher Turnover

Teacher turnover can negatively influence students in three main ways: 1) classroom disruption, 2) staff instability, and 3) differences in quality of replacement and replaced teacher. There is substantial research that demonstrates negative effects of teacher turnover on students. However, less attention has been paid to mid-year teacher turnover. A new study by Gary Henry and Christopher Redding in vol. 15, issue 2 of EFP assesses effects of teacher turnover, with particular focus on the time-point when teachers leave the school.

Effects of Year-Round Pell Grants on Community College Students

The Pell Grant is the single largest source of federal financial aid for low-income college students. The program aims to reduce the cost of education for low-income students, which in turn seeks to increase enrollment and completion rates for low-income students in post-secondary education. One major challenge associated with the Pell Grant is that it only covers tuition for two full-time semesters, which means students are unable to take courses in the summer. To address these concerns, the Year Round Pell Grant program was implemented in 2009.

Societal Preferences for Equal College Access, Income, an Income Equality

Most research on people’s preferences for public policies comes from opinion surveys. Academic studies of societal preferences typically focus on either equality of economic outcomes or equality of economic opportunities. A new study by Bernardo Lara and Kenneth Shores, at Universidad de Talca and Pennsylvania State University, in vol. 15, issue 2 of EFP simultaneously examines people’s preferences for equality in both economic opportunities (college access) and economic outcomes (income equality).

Evidence on Gray University Degrees from India

Academic degrees can be bought in India, these are known as gray degrees. The primary reason that people purchase degrees is to give themselves broader opportunities and access on the job market. Despite this open secret regarding bought degrees, there is a scarcity of research on the effect that A new study by Tanmoy Majilla and Matthias Rieger at Erasmus University Rotterdam in vol. 15, issue 2 of EFP examines the potential effects of these gray degrees and employment outcomes in India.

Vocational Education in the US – Value of Depth over Breadth

This century, high school students have increasingly enrolled in academic courses at the expense of enrollments in vocational courses (see the figure below).

Vocational education is a key part of the high school curriculum. However, little is known about what factors drive enrollment in vocational courses, and the effects of enrollment on early careers. A new EFP article by researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Michigan addresses this gap.

Effects of Instructional Time: School Year v. School Day

To improve students’ academic achievement, some policymakers have called for increasing the amount of time students spend receiving instruction in school. Educational leaders thus frequently consider either extending the length of the school year or extending the school day. Derek Wu, from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, examined the effects of instructional time on academic achievement.

Effects of School Reforms from NCLB Waivers - Focus Schools in Kentucky

During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education began issuing waivers from No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB’s) requirements to states implementing a new version of differentiated school accountability. A key feature of these reforms required states to implement targeted reforms in schools contributing to a state’s achievement gaps.