The ability of regression discontinuity (RD) designs to provide an unbiased treatment effect while overcoming the ethical concerns plagued by Random Control Trials (RCTs) make it a valuable and useful approach in education evaluation. RD is the only explicitly recognized quasi-experimental approach identified by the Institute of Education Statistics to meet the prerequisites of a causal relationship. Unfortunately, the statistical complexity of the RD design has limited its application in education research. This article provides a less technical introduction to RD for education researchers and practitioners. Using visual analysis to aide conceptual understanding, the article walks readers through the essential steps of a Sharp RD design using hypothetical, but realistic, district intervention data and provides additional resources for further exploration. Accessed 7,566 times on https://pareonline.net from August 03, 2014 to December 31, 2019. For downloads from January 1, 2020 forward, please click on the PlumX Metrics link to the right.
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Smith, William C.
"Estimating unbiased treatment effects in education using a regression discontinuity design,"
Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation: Vol. 19
, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/pare/vol19/iss1/9