We identify California public middle schools that use a 7th grade achievement threshold to place students into 8th grade Algebra. These schools provide 439 opportunities to estimate regression discontinuity effects of 8th grade Algebra placement. We meta-analyze these effects and find small positive effects on students' high school math and English achievement, and substantial positive effects on high school math course-taking. Further, our analyses indicate substantial treatment effect heterogeneity across schools. Descriptive analyses suggest a positive relationship between treatment effects and average school student achievement and the location of the placement threshold, and a negative relationship with student poverty.
McEachin, Andrew, Thurston Domina, and Andrew M. Penner, Understanding the Effects of Middle School Algebra: A Regression Discontinuity Approach. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2017. https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR1209.html.
McEachin, Andrew, Thurston Domina, and Andrew M. Penner, Understanding the Effects of Middle School Algebra: A Regression Discontinuity Approach, RAND Corporation, WR-1209, 2017. As of November 10, 2022: https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR1209.html