Education and Economics



Directions: Provide a written essay that answers one of the two questions below. You must draw upon at least Four sources and make sure to provide a reference list (including references to course readings used in the essay). The reference list does not count towards your word requirement. These sources include our course readings, books, and articles published in academic journals. You may also use popular press outlets like newspapers and magazines in your essay but these will not count towards your four required references (though you should still include them in your reference list). You may not use any additional writings such as blog postings, Wikipedia, or websites (other than those from news organizations) in your essay.

In your essay, when referring to the reference material make sure that you cite your sources. This can be done in text with the author’s name and publication date in parentheses at the end of a sentence. For example,

“Research has found that people are grumpy when the temperature drops below 10 degrees (Johnson, 2003).”

Quotations should be used sparingly if at all. When in doubt it is better to paraphrase than use a quote. If you do feel you need to quote a source then the quoted text should not exceed one sentence. In addition to the substance of your essay grammar and writing style will compose a portion of your grade.

This is a Turnitin dropbox and so an “originality report” will be generated.   This report provides a guide to the instructor as to what elements of the writing may not be original, but the final judgment is in the hands of the instructor.

Option 1:

In our readings authors including Corcoran suggest that there has been a drop in the quality of teachers over time. One potential explanation is fewer high ability women are becoming teachers. Discuss how the job market for women has changed over the past few decades and why that might be leading to fewer high quality teachers. Discuss the evidence provided by Corcoran on how the quality of teaching has fallen over time and make an argument for whether or not you agree with his assessment. Finally, discuss ways that policy makers may be able to incentivize more high ability people to enter the teaching profession. Note that for this question, the Corcoran study in your readings does not count towards your four source requirement, though you may use other writings by Corcoran.

Option 2:

Suppose that you are an advisor to the Governor of Michigan. The governor is trying to decide whether to sign a bill that will change its accountability system so that it is based on test score growth instead of proficiency.   Using your external sources, provide the governor with a summary of the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing the proposed change. Then provide the governor with a recommendation of whether or not he should sign the bill. With your recommendation make sure to clearly describe how you weigh the conflicting empirical evidence and potential drawbacks and benefits in coming to your recommendation.

Option 1 will be little easy to write.

Reading list: 

  1. Background information will come from the Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance by Dominic Brewer.
  2. Handbook of the Economics of Education