Measuring Effects of a Pre-College Engineering Curriculum

June 1, 2010

A new Working Paper by Mitchell Nathan and colleagues illustrates how propensity score matching (PSM) can provide a robust estimate of a program treatment effect on student learning outcomes. A quasi-experimental design was used to investigate the impact of enrollment in a pre-college engineering curriculum on student achievement on standardized state tests in science and mathematics. Models using either hand-matched or PSM controls produced comparable substantive results. The estimates for the impact of the pre-college engineering curriculum were statistically significant for math achievement but not for science. PSM was less laborious; generated a comparison group with more participants and less variability, thus increasing statistical power; and identified an additional significant predictor (gender). Read the Working Paper here.