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Using centralized lotteries to measure preschool impact: Insights from the DC prekindergarten study

Building on successful applications of DA-based assignment methods in Boston and New Orleans (Abenavoli et al. 2020; Manship, Faria, and Berg 2020; Weiland et al. 2019; Weixler, Lincove, and Valant 2020), this report describes steps taken to use a common application system and centralized lottery to study the District of Columbia's public prekindergarten program. We begin by describing lottery reconstruction and simulation, the first steps toward using lotteries in evaluation. Next, we look at simulation results and their implications for impact evaluation. We then link lottery simulation data and enrollment records to examine compliance and statistical power. We conclude by outlining how these activities set the stage for estimating the effects of public preschool. We hope that the procedure outlined here will help democratize access to state-of-the-art program evaluation methods for prekindergarten programs that use a centralized school lottery. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
District of Columbia

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