Education

Peter Arcidiacono, Josh Kinsler, Tyler Ransom, 22 January 2020

Many elite universities in the US send recruitment materials to secondary school students in an effort to enlarge their applicant pools. This column focuses on Harvard University and documents a sudden increase in African American applications, driven by those with lower entrance exam scores, which did not result in a larger share of African American admits. It discusses possible motivations for this practice of recruiting applicants, particularly African Americans, who essentially have no chance of being admitted. 

Sofoklis Goulas, Rigissa Megalokonomou, 11 January 2020

Exam scheduling may contribute to performance gaps between subjects, between males and females, as well as between students with differing performance histories. Using lottery-generated variation in exam timing at a Greek public high school, this column identifies three distinct channels through which exam scheduling can influence test performance. The simulation experiments show that the higher the number of exams taken, the higher the potential benefit from optimising exams scheduling.

Carlo Barone, Denis Fougère, Clément Pin, 19 December 2019

Interventions that encourage parents to read with their pre-school aged children can be a cost-effective way to boost early childhood development and reduce educational inequalities. But socioeconomic and cultural barriers can hinder the efficacy of such interventions, and recent impact evaluations question their value. This column looks at a large-scale experiment that provided parents of pre-schoolers with books as well as materials on the benefits of shared reading. It finds that the accessibility of the information provided played a key role in the intervention’s success. 

Thomas Le Barbanchon, Diego Ubfal, Federico Araya, 16 December 2019

The decision whether to take up paid work alongside academic study is a difficult trade-off that students all over the world face. The benefits of additional income and work experience must be weighed up against the loss of hours devoted to formal study. This column exploits data from a work-study programme in Uruguay to explore the impacts of part-time employment on academic attainment and future professional success. Such programmes can represent valuable human capital investments, but their details are crucial to ensuring long-run positive impacts for young people.

Denis Fougère, Carlo Barone, 13 December 2019

Language skills for preschoolers help them achieve more when they get to school, but some parents are better than others at helping their kids to develop these skills. Denis Fougère and Carlo Barone tell Tim Phillips about a successful experiment in Paris to help less-educated parents spend time reading with their children.

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