Early Signs For Late Trouble? Academic Momentum And High School Success
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
One main motivation here is to investigate the role of individual high schools in mediating this relationship, against the backdrop of a comprehensive high school choice program. The large number of New York City public high schools – during the period of analysis, incoming high school students could choose from 700 individual programs in 400 schools – enables us to study heterogeneity in multiple dimensions. We not only disaggregate high schools by the nature of their programs and admissions rules, but also explore interactions of these with student background. We predict student outcomes in high school and document the significant variance that exists in subsequent outcomes even conditional on past achievement. Separating out students whose actual performance falls below expectations from students whose performance consistently exceeds expectations, we identify school- and individual-level factors which are associated with such divergent experiences. We also run sensitivity analyses in terms of diversity of courses taken in high school and potential peer effects in sequencing of courses and credits earned.
These results have important policy implications. Not only do they highlight important components of human capital acquisition in high school, but by underlining essential ingredients for successful high school outcomes they provide individual schools and families with a concrete roadmap for future academic success. They also have broader significance, pointing towards the role playable by predictive analytics as big data come to the forefront. This is particularly true as the theme of the conference relates to the use of better data for better decision-making - this paper illustrates the potential of the same for improving high school performance.