Using a Regression Discontinuity Design to Estimate the Impact of Placement Decisions in Developmental Math
This study evaluates the effectiveness of math placement policies for entering community college students on these students’ academic success in math. We estimate the impact of placement decisions by using a discrete-time survival model within a regression discontinuity framework. The primary conclusion that emerges is that initial placement in a lower-level course increases the time until a student at the margin completes the higher-level course they were not assigned to by about a year on average but in most cases, after this time period, the penalty was small and not statistically significant. We found minor differences in terms of degree applicable and degree transferable credit accumulation between students placed initially in the lowerlevel course.
KeywordsDevelopmental math Community colleges Evaluation Discrete time hazard model Regression discontinuity design
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