Making the Grade: The Sensitivity of Education Program Effectiveness to Input Choices and Outcome Measures

Jason T. Kerwin, Rebecca L. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper demonstrates the acute sensitivity of education program effectiveness to the choices of inputs and outcome measures, using a randomized evaluation of a mother-tongue literacy program. The program raises reading scores by 0.64SDs and writing scores by 0.45SDs. A reduced-cost version instead yields statistically-insignificant reading gains and some large negative effects (-0.33SDs) on advanced writing. We combine a conceptual model of education production with detailed classroom observations to examine the mechanisms driving the results; we show they could be driven by the program initially lowering productivity before raising it, and potentially by missing complementary inputs in the reduced-cost version.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1-45
Number of pages45
JournalReview of Economics and Statistics
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher: MIT Press

Cite this