Theses Doctoral

Essays on the Economics of High School-to-College Transition Programs and Teacher Effectiveness

Speroni, Cecilia

This dissertation is comprised of three essays on the economics of high school-to-college transition programs and teacher effectiveness. The first essay studies the two largest credit-based transition programs in the United States: Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment. While these programs are distinct, both of them allow students to earn college credits while in high school. Using student-level statewide data from Florida, I examine the relative power of these two programs for predicting students' college access and success. In the second essay, I gauge the causal effect of one of the programs, Dual Enrollment, exploiting Florida's eligibility requirements for participation. I conduct two regression discontinuity analyses. The first analysis evaluates the effect of dual enrollment using a general grade point average requirement for participation in any course. The second analysis measures the effect of one particular challenging and popular dual enrollment course, college algebra, using an eligibility criterion that is specific to that course. While the standard regression-discontinuity methods are appropriate for the first analysis, the participation criterion for college algebra is used not only for dual enrollment but also for college students. I therefore propose an extension of standard regression-discontinuity methods to account for sequential treatments. My third essay, coauthored with Jonah Rockoff, considers ways in which policymakers can improve teacher accountability systems. Using data from New York City public schools, we study the relative predictive power of value-added performance data and subjective evaluations (made by mentors or hiring committees) on teachers' future performance as measured by students' achievement gains.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Bailey, Thomas R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 5, 2011