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Can Mentoring Alleviate Family Disadvantage in Adolscence? A Field Experiment to Improve Labor-Market Prospects

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... Particularly, tutoring programs have been identified as one of the most versatile and potentially transformative educational tools (e.g., Nickow et al., 2020). In a parallel literature, several studies find medium-term effects of educational interventions (e.g., Resnjanskij et al., 2021;Lavecchia et al., 2020;Lavy, 2020;Oreopoulos et al., 2017;Angrist et al., 2006), motivated by dynamic effects in educational production functions (e.g., Carneiro and Heckman, 2003). This suggests that tutoring programs may have effects not only in the short-but also in the medium-term, a possibility also suggested recently by Guryan et al. (2021) but for which there is limited evidence. ...
... The paper makes several contributions to previous research. By estimating medium-term effects on a broad set of educational outcomes up to 8 years after the program was implemented, we add to the literature on the effects of short-lived educational interventions (e.g., Rockoff and Turner, 2010;Abeberese et al., 2011;Banerjee et al., 2010), to the literature on the the medium-term effects of tutoring programs (e.g., Guryan et al., 2021;Zijlstra et al., 2020;Blachman et al., 2014) and to the literature on medium-term effects of remedial education programs (e.g., Resnjanskij et al., 2021;Lavy, 2020;Zijlstra et al., 2020;Blachman et al., 2014;Lavecchia et al., 2020). Second, by providing support to a mechanism related to the human connection between the student and the tutor to explain our short-and medium-term results, we contribute empirical estimates, especially for medium-term impacts, to the previous literature (Fryer Jr and Howard-Noveck, 2020;Miller and Connolly, 2013;Guryan et al., 2021). ...
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This paper explores how short-term tutoring affects educational outcomes in the short-and medium-term. We implemented a randomized experiment of a three-month small group tutoring program in Chile that aimed at improving reading outcomes among fourth graders using college student volunteers. We find small short-term effects on reading outcomes. Using administrative data covering up to eight years after the program ended, we find significant decreases in the probability of dropping out, increases in the probability of timely school progression, and increases in attendance, school grades and test scores. These effects are stronger for students who were ex-ante more likely to drop-out from school. The program effects are stronger for students who established stronger personal connections with the tutors. Our results suggest that tutoring programs may have relevant medium-term effects that go beyond short-term impacts on specific subjects with stronger effects on more at-risk children.
... Several influential papers focus on the effectiveness of mentoring in the academic context: Dennehy and Dasgupta (2017) employ a randomized experiment to show that assigning a female mentor to a female engineering student increases the sense of belonging in the discipline, self-efficacy, motivation, and retention for women majoring in engineering in college. Resnjanskij et al. (2021), also in a randomized experiment, document a positive impact of a mentoring program for disadvantaged high-school youth on their math grades and career plans. A number of papers focus on the impact of mentoring on the careers of academic faculty members. ...
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We describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of a low-cost and scalable program that supports women in Poland in transitioning into jobs in the information technology sector. This program, called "Challenges," helps participants develop portfolios that demonstrate capability for relevant jobs. We conduct two independent evaluations, one focusing on the Challenges program and another on a one-to-one mentoring program. We exploit the fact that both programs were oversubscribed to randomize access among applicants and measure the impact of the programs on the probability of finding a job in the technology sector within four months. We estimate that the mentoring program increases the probability of finding a job in technology by 13 percentage points and the Challenges program by 9 percentage points. The benefit of Challenges can be compared to the program cost of approximately $15 per person. Next, we show that treatment effects vary with individual characteristics, and we estimate gains from optimally assigning applicants across the two programs. We find that optimal assignment increases participants' average probability of finding a job in technology by approximately 13% compared to random assignment. Finally, we analyze the counterfactual impact of expanding the available spots in Challenges from 15% to 50% of applicants, while assigning applicants to programs using the proposed targeting rule. Considering the entire applicant pool as the baseline, this generates a 30% increase in technology sector jobs.
Article
I investigate the effect of teacher subject-specific qualifications on student science achievement using data from TIMSS 2015, a large-scale assessment of student skills. I exploit the availability of student test scores in four different science subjects—biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science—to test whether teachers holding a subject-specific qualification raise student test scores. Using a within-student within-teacher approach, which controls for student and teacher heterogeneity, I find that teacher subject-specific qualification in one subject increases student test scores by 3.5% of a standard deviation in the same subject. The effect is stronger for female students, especially when they are taught by female teachers, for disadvantaged students, and in lower-performing countries. The mediation analysis reveals that 20% of the effect is explained by teachers feeling more confident to teach topics in subjects in which they hold subject-specific qualifications.
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