1,301 research outputs found

    Impacts of classifying New York City students as overweight

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    US schools increasingly report body mass index (BMI) to students and their parents in annual fitness “report cards.” We obtained 3,592,026 BMI reports for New York City public school students for 2007–2012. We focus on female students whose BMI puts them close to their age-specific cutoff for categorization as overweight. Overweight students are notified that their BMI “falls outside a healthy weight” and they should review their BMI with a health care provider. Using a regression discontinuity design, we compare those classified as overweight but near to the overweight cutoff to those whose BMI narrowly earned them a “healthy” BMI grouping. We find that overweight categorization generates small impacts on girls’ subsequent BMI and weight. Whereas presumably an intent of BMI report cards was to slow BMI growth among heavier students, BMIs and weights did not decline relative to healthy peers when assessed the following academic year. Our results speak to the discrete categorization as overweight for girls with BMIs near the overweight cutoff, not to the overall effect of BMI reporting in New York City

    Retention Heterogeneity in New York City Schools

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    Performance on proficiency exams can be a key determinant of whether students are retained or “held back” in their grade. In New York City, passing the statewide proficiency exam essentially guarantees promotion, while roughly 13% of those students who fail the exam are retained. Using regression discontinuity methods, we find that female students are 25% more likely to be retained in their grade due to exam failure than boys. Hispanic students are 60% more likely and Black students 120% more likely to be retained due to exam failure (relative to White students). Poverty and previous poor performance also increase the likelihood of retention, while being young for grade or short does not. We conclude that “patterned discretion” exists in how standardized test results are utilized

    In Utero Ramadan Exposure and Children’s Academic Performance

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    A large literature has linked the in utero environment to health in adulthood. We consider how prenatal nutrition may shape human capital acquisition in childhood, utilising the month‐long Ramadan fast as a natural experiment. In student register data for Pakistani and Bangladeshi families in England, we examine whether Ramadan's overlap with pregnancy affects subsequent academic outcomes at age 7. We find that test scores are 0.05–0.08 standard deviations lower for students exposed to Ramadan in early pregnancy. Our results suggest that brief prenatal investments may be more cost effective than traditional educational interventions in improving academic performance