Emily Penner is Co-PI on a NIH Grant, "Education and Transition to Adulthood," to study the long-term effects of student course placements and teacher impact.
The UCI School of Education is administering the collaborative grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. The five-year, $3.2M grant will run from 2018 through 2023.
This study will build administrative data infrastructure to help schools understand the effects of courses and teachers on students’ longer-term labor market experiences, criminal justice contact, family formation, and well-being.
Six institutions will participate in the study.
Education plays a central role in structuring students’ transitions to adulthood, placing them on trajectories that have important implications for long-term health. This project contributes to our understanding of the relationship between education and a healthy transition to adulthood by creating an unprecedented link between school district administrative records and data from the US Census Bureau’s Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications (CARRA). Previous research using school administrative records has provided important insights into the effects of educational practices and policies on academic achievement. Our linked data will bring the power of school administrative data to bear on young adult outcomes with important implications for long-term health. This project focuses on two central ways that schools structure students’ opportunities to learn: course placements and teacher assignments. Drawing on life course theory this project argues that understanding the effects of students’ educational experiences and contexts requires an understanding of their highly sequenced nature. Accordingly, this project examines how exposure to different courses and teachers shapes students’ odds of exposure to subsequent educational contexts, and how these contexts interact to generate long-term effects. This project begins by estimating the short- and long-term effects of student exposure to courses and teachers, using quasi-experimental variation where possible. Short-term outcomes include student test scores, coursetaking, and school suspensions; long-term outcomes, many of which come from CARRA, include high school graduation, tertiary attendance and graduation, labor market outcomes, criminal justice outcomes, disability status, health insurance, family formation, and mortality. These analyses are supplemented by descriptive evidence tracing students’ pathways through subsequent educational environments in order to better understand what kinds of trajectories are associated with different patterns of long-term effects. This project will thus: 1) Build unique data infrastructure linking students’ educational records with indicators of a healthy transition to adulthood. These data will serve as a model for future linkages, and their population-level coverage will allow us to move beyond one-size-fits-all understandings of courses and teachers to examine how effects vary across schools. 2) Estimate the effects of course placement, as well as teachers’ value-added, on students’ short and medium-term academic outcomes, and long-term educational attainment, exposure to the criminal justice system, early labor market experiences, disability, health insurance, and mortality. 3) Trace the coursework and teacher pathways associated with outcomes indicating a healthy transition to adulthood.