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|Math acceleration in elementary school: Access and effects on student outcomes
This paper examines curricular acceleration in mathematics during elementary school using administrative data from a large, diverse school district that recently implemented a targeted, test-based acceleration policy. We first characterize access to advanced math and then estimate effects of acceleration in math on measures of short-run academic achievement as well as non-test-score measures of grit, engagement with schoolwork, future plans, and continued participation in the accelerated track. Experiences and effects of math acceleration differ markedly for girls and boys. Girls are less likely to be nominated for math acceleration and perform worse on the qualifying test, relative to boys with equivalent baseline performance. We find negative effects of acceleration on short-run retention of math knowledge for girls, but no such performance decay for boys. After initial exposure to accelerated math, girls are less likely than boys to appear in the accelerated track during late elementary school and at the start of middle school.
|Student Support Team Evaluation
Student Support Teams (SST) are designed to strengthen and support students who are experiencing academic, behavioral, family, and/or emotional difficulties that interfere with learning. SSTs develop and implement action plans using classroom-, school-, family-, and/or community-based strategies. In 2003-04, 80% of the 4,944 students served by SSTs were elementary students. Over half of the students referred for academic reasons scored on grade level before SST participation. Earlier SST meetings and family-based strategies were correlated with positive academic outcomes. Classroom-based strategies were correlated with fewer suspensions. Schools varied in their success in improving SST students' achievement. SST participants' growth in achievement was generally smaller than a matched comparison group over one year, but students could have differed in ways related to referral reasons. SST students closed the gap between their achievement and that of the district overall in some elementary grades but not at the secondary level.