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Lessons in Reading Reform: Finding What Works

August 18, 2010

Evaluates elements of reforms designed to improve reading scores among students identified as lagging behind, including extended-length English classes and school years. Considers the role of teachers' experience, lessons learned, and policy implications.

A Non-Experimental Evaluation of Curriculum Effectiveness in Math

May 1, 2010

We use non-experimental data from a large panel of schools and districts in Indiana to evaluate the impacts of math curricula on student achievement. Using matching methods, we obtain causal estimates of curriculum effects at just a fraction of what it would cost to produce experimental estimates. Furthermore, external validity concerns that are particularly cogent in experimental curricular evaluations suggest that our non-experimental estimates may be preferred. In the short term, we find large differences in effectiveness across some math curricula. However, as with many other educational inputs, the effects of math curricula do not persist over time. Across curriculum adoption cycles, publishers that produce less effective curricula in one cycle do not lose market share in the next cycle. One explanation for this result is the dearth of information available to administrators about curricular effectiveness.