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Upward Bound Evaluation Flaws & Strong Positive Reanalysis Results
 

Upward Bound Evaluation Flaws & Strong Positive Reanalysis Results

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Presentation on the Hill by Department of ED's Technical Monitors details flaws in published Mathematica reports and presents strong positive impact estimates from the study in more credible ...

Presentation on the Hill by Department of ED's Technical Monitors details flaws in published Mathematica reports and presents strong positive impact estimates from the study in more credible standards based re-analysis correcting for identified report flaws. Contrary to the conclusions put forth by Mathematica for almost a decade the re-analysis found strong positive impacts for Upward Bound.

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  • In this part of the presentation. I’m going to share with you some findings from a re-analysis we did at ED as part of a QA review of the Upward Bound study. We became aware of the issues that David has reviewed only gradually over a period of several years. ED first became aware of the fact that one project was carrying 26 percent of the weight in 2005 when a Mathematica analyst reported that one project, project 69, had negative impacts and this was changing the conclusions. We did not become aware of the representational issues with project 69 until 2-years later after the contract was over and ED received a copy of the sampling frame and learned the identity of project 69. We also did not know at first that the reason project 69 had seemingly negative impacts was because of the extreme imbalance between the treatment and control group. We started the re-analysis to attempt to understand what was going on and then correct and mitigate these issues. After consulting with statistical experts, we used a standards based approach using NCES and evaluation research standards as guides I used similar procedures –logistic regression and instrumental variables regression as did Mathematica but the re-analysis differed in 4 important ways: Presented the results with and without project 69 Standardized outcomes to expected high school graduation year for the sample which spanned 5 years of high school graduation dates Used all applicable follow-up survey data from the third through fifth follow-ups and th10 years of the federal aid files Used National Student Clearinghouse data only for BA and did not use for enrollment impact estimation or for 2-year and less than 2-year degrees as coverage was too low or non-existent as for 2-year and less than 2-year degrees with high potential for bias due to non-participation in applicable period for project 69
  • Figure 3 presents the Treatment on the Treated (TOT) and Intent to Treat (ITT) estimates of impact of Upward Bound on postsecondary entrance within 1 year of high school graduation . The TOT estimates compare those students completing a baseline survey to get onto a “waiting list” in middle school or early high school who were randomly assigned to UB and who participated in the program with those who were not assigned to UB and who did not participate. The ITT estimates compare those randomly assigned to treatment or control regardless of participation in the program. As can be seen there are substantial positive impacts with and without project 69 with larger impacts without project 69 due to the imbalance that David as pointed out . Looking at the Treated on Treated (TOT) estimates without project 69, we see that there is a 14.2 percentage point difference between the treatment and control group (60.4 percent for the control group and 74.6 percent for the treatment) group.
  • Figure 4 presents the significant large impact of Upward Bound on BA degree attainment for the 66 of the 67 sampled projects that as David has shown when taken together have a reasonable balance between the treatment and control group on baseline characteristics. This is among the most significant finding that is missed in the Mathematica reports which conclude that Upward Bound had no detectable impact on BA attainment. These results indicate that there is an almost 50 percent increase in BA attainment for the TOT estimate and a 30 percent impact for the ITT estimate. These are significant and very large impacts.
  • In summary, As the Technical Monitor for the study after a close examination of the study design and work with the data files over a period of several years, we believe that the Mathematica conclusions of “no detectable impact” of the UB program on postsecondary entrance, financial aid and degree attainment are seriously flawed. These flaws are a result of three factors: 1) serious unequal weighting; 2) misrepresentation of the largest 4-year stratum by a 2-year program school; and 3) importantly a serious bias in favor of the control group introduced by project 69’s severe differences between its treatment and control group indicating that a breakdown of the random assignment may have occurred in this project. A credible standards based re-analysis correcting for study errors shows significant and substantial positive impacts for UB on the goals of the program Moreover the reports are not transparent in reporting study issues and alternative results such that readers including expert peer reviewers have enough information to make a judgment concerning the validity of the Mathematica conclusions about UB. There is a need to acknowledge publically that the Mathematica study is not capable of producing robust estimates for the entire population of UB at the time, and can produce reasonably robust estimates only for the 74 percent of UB not represented by project 69.

Upward Bound Evaluation Flaws & Strong Positive Reanalysis Results Upward Bound Evaluation Flaws & Strong Positive Reanalysis Results Presentation Transcript

  • April 19 2012 Briefing 210 Cannon House Office Building David Goodwin, Ph.D. Technical Monitor, First UB Evaluation Contract; Former Division Director Policy Analysis Studies (PAS); US Department of Education; Retired Gates Foundation, currently Independent Consultant Margaret Cahalan, Ph.D. Technical Monitor, Final UB Evaluation Contract; Currently Senior Scientist, PellInstitute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education
  • Topics/Purposes of Presentation1. Basic problem2. Re-analysis results3. Why is this important?
  • Extreme unequal weighting and serious representation issues  Project with 26 percent of Figure 1. Percentage of sum of the weights by project of the 67 projects making up thestudy sample: National Evaluation of Upward Bound, study conducted 1992-93-2003-04 weight (known as 69) was sole representative of 4- 30 26.38 year public strata, but was 25 a former 2-year school 20 with largely less than 2- 15 Percent of weight year programs 10 5  Project partnered with job 0 training program 1 3 6 8 0 2 4 7 9 2 4 6 3 4 9 1 3 5 7 9 1 8 0 5 7 9 1 4 6 8 0 2 7 P1 P1 P1 P1 P2 P2 P2 P2 P2 P3 P3 P3 P3 P4 P4 P6 P6 P7 P7 P7 P7 P7 P8 P4 P4 P4 P5 P5 P5 P5 P6 P6 P6NOTE: Of the 67 projects making up the UB sample just over half (54 percent) have less than 1 percent of the weights each and one  Inadequate representationproject (69) accounts for 26.4 percent of the weights.SOURCE: Data tabulated December 2007 using: National Evaluation of Upward Bound data files, study sponsored by the Policy andPlanning Studies Services (PPSS), of the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD), US Department of Education,:study conducted 1992-93-2003-04. of 4-year
  • Severe non-equivalency in project 69 in favor of control group—explains observed negative results from project 69 Project 69 Other 66 projects in sample 100 100 Control, 20 Control, 23 90 90 80 Control, 49 Control, 49 Control, 51 80 70 70 60 Control, 79 60 50 50 40 Treatment, 80 Treatment, 77 30 Treatment, 51 Treatment, 51 Treatment, 49 40 20 30 10 20 0 Treatment, 21 High academic In 9th (younger) Expect advanced 10 risk grade in 1993-94 degree 0 Treatment Control High academic In 9th (younger) Expect advanced risk grade in 1993-94 degree Treatment Control The Pell Institute 4
  • 10090 Control, 42 Control, 4480 Control, 5870605040 Treatment, 58 Treatment, 5630 Treatment, 422010 0 High academic In 9th (younger) Expect advanced risk grade in 1993-94 degree Treatment Control The Pell Institute 5
  • Re-analyses corrected for identified issues Used similar statistical analysis procedures but unlike published impact estimates the re-analyses: 1. Presented results with and without project 69 2. Standardized outcomes to expected high school graduation year for sample that spanned 5 years of high school graduation dates 3. Used all applicable follow-up surveys (3 to 5) and 10 years of federal aid files for source of data 4. Used National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data only for BA degree and not for enrollment or 2-year or less degrees because coverage too low or non-existent in applicable period
  • Figure 3. Treatment on the Treated (TOT) and Intent to Treat (ITT) estimates of impact of Upward Bound (UB) on postsecondary entrance within +1 year (18 months) of expected high school graduation year (EHSGY) 1992-93 to 2003-04 Not UB participant (control) UB participant (treatment) Difference 14.2**** TOT (excludes project 69) 60.4 74.6 64.3 Difference ITT (excludes project 69) 73.3 9.0*** Difference TOT (includes project 69) 62.5 11.0**** 73.5 ITT (includes project 69 ) 66 Difference 72.9 6.9**** 0 20 40 60 80*/**/***/**** Significant at 0.10/0.05/. 01/00 level. NOTE. Model based estimates based on STATA logisticand instrumental variables regression and also taking into account the complex sample design. Based onresponses to three follow-up surveys and federal student aid files. SOURCE: Data tabulated January 2008using: National Evaluation of Upward Bound data files, study sponsored by the Policy and Program StudiesServices (PPSS), US Department of Education: study conducted 1992-93 to 2003-04; and federal StudentFinancial Aid (SFA) files 1994-95 to 2003-04. (Excerpted from the Cahalan Re-Analysis Report, Figure IV)
  • Figure 4. Impact of Upward Bound (UB) on Bachelor’s (BA) degree attainment: estimates based on 66 of 67 projects in UB sample: National Evaluation of Upward Bound, study conducted 1992-93 to 2003-04 TOT (Longitudinal file BA in +8 years of EHSGY- evidence from 14.6 any Followup Survey (Third to Fifith) or NSC; no evidence set 21.7 to 0)**** TOT(BA by end of the survey period, Fifth Follow-Up 21.1 Control responders only-adjusted for 28.7 Treatment non-response)**** ITT (Longitudinal file BA in +8 years of EHSGY- evidence from 13.7 any Followup Survey (Third to Fifith) or NSC; no evidence set 17.5 to 0)**** 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35*/**/***/**** Significant at 0.10/0.05/.01/00 level; NS = not significant at the .10 level or below. NOTE: TOT= Treatment on the Treated; ITT= Intent to Treat; EHSGY = Expected High School Graduation Year; NSC =National Student Clearinghouse; SFA = Student Financial Aid All estimates significant at the .01 level orhigher. Estimates based on 66 of 67 projects in sample representing 74 percent of UB at the time of the study.One project removed due to introducing bias into estimates in favor of the control group and representationalissues. Model based estimates based on STATA logistic and instrumental variables regression taking intoaccount the complex sample design. We use a 2-stage instrumental variables regression procedure to control forselection effects for the Treatment on the Treated (TOT) impact estimates. ITT estimates include 14 percent ofcontrol group who were in Upward Bound Math Science and 20-26 percent of treatment group who did notenter Upward Bound. SOURCE: Calculated January 2010 using: National Evaluation of Upward Bound datafiles, study sponsored by the Policy and Program Studies Services (PPSS), U.S. Department of Education; studyconducted 1992-9 to -2003-04.
  • Summary Mathematica conclusions of “no detectable impact” of the Upward Bound program on postsecondary entrance, financial aid, and degree attainment are not robust and are seriously flawed A credible standards based re-analysis correcting for identified sources of study error detected statistically significant and educationally meaningful substantive positive impacts for the Upward Bound program that are not acknowledged in the Mathematica reports The reports are not transparent in reporting study issues and alternative results such that readers, including expert peer reviewers, have enough information to make judgments concerning the validity of the Mathematica conclusions about Upward Bound There is a need to acknowledge publically that the Mathematica study is not capable of producing robust estimates for the entire population of UB at the time, and can produce reasonably robust estimates only for the 74 percent of UB not represented by project 69.
  • Flawed reports have had serious negative consequences for the UB program• Based on earlier reports from the study the program has Ineffective OMB PART rating that still stands• Administration recommendations for zero funding in FY05 and FY06 justified by study Third follow-up findings published in 2004 Lack of impact findings are widely quoted in academic research and in testimony to Congress. Dr. Russ Whitehurst, former Director of IES, in November of 2011 listed UB as a program that did not work- in testimony on the Federal Role in Education research for the reauthorization of IES. http://www.brookings.edu/testimony/2011/1116_education_research_whitehurst.aspx American Youth Policy Institute’s Success at Every step publication www.aypf.org/publications/SuccessAtEveryStep.htm also reports Mathematica findings
  • Serious Concern Needs Addressing The UB program reputation continues to be hurt by the evaluation Missed opportunity to build on the program’s successes and find ways to strengthen and adapt program to achieve nation’s goals of increased postsecondary access and completion Evaluation research as a whole suffers from not correcting mistakes made and learning from them
  • More Information can be found The full text of the COE Request for Correction can be found at: http://www.coenet.us/files/pubs_reports-COE_Request_for_C Statement of concern by leading researchers in field: http://www.coenet.us/files/ED-Statement_of_Concern_011712.p Results of the re-analysis detailing study error issues can be found at: http://www.pellinstitute.org/downloads/publications-Do Information on obtaining the restricted use UB data files for additional research can be obtained by contacting: Sandra.Furey@ed.gov
  • Contact Information Margaret.cahalan@pellinstitute.org Kimberly.jones@coenet.us Davidgoodwin3024@comcast.net