Symposium on Causality 2010 Jena University
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SMABS 2004 EAM Causal Effects

Department of methodology and evaluation research

Jena University


Symposium "Causality in Educational Research"

Schloss Dornburg near Jena (Photograph: Scheere)

Place: Altes Schloss Dornburg near Jena, Großer Kaisersaal

Time: July 14 to 16, 2010

Language: english

Aim of the symposium

In educational research, estimating causal effects often is the goal, although this is not always stated explicitly. For instance, we are interested in whether one or the other type of school has beneficial effects on students' achievements. In comparing several schools, we are striving towards fair comparisons. Comparisons are fair when they adequately take into account that schools differ in their student populations. Differences in achievements between students of different schools are, for example, due to the students' socio-economic status. Apparently, it would be not fair to compare two schools without considering this and other diversities. This applies not only to a static consideration of achievements, but also to the value-added-approach that focuses on changes in achievements. Basically, fair comparisons make sure that the estimated effects can be attributed to schools and their work and not to systematic selection from diverse populations.

Finally, classical intervention research, which evaluates different methods of instruction as well as social intervention, has always been an application area of empirical causal research. In this case, it is essential to compare interventions adjusting for possible selection effects. Even though there already are some studies based upon an explicit theory of causal effects, these studies are still rare. Furthermore, there are also new developments in the theory of causal effects, which have not yet been applied in educational research at all. Hence, we believe that this symposium can really make a contribution to the methodology of empirical educational research.

Focus presentations

Derek Briggs (University of Colorado, Boulder, USA)
"Value added modeling of teacher and/or school effects."
Thomas D. Cook (Northwestern University, Evanston, USA)
"No child left behind. An interrupted time series analysis."
Ulf Kröhne (DIPF, Frankfurt, Germany)
"Comparison of quasi-experimental methods for large-scale assessments: Estimating the effect of bilingual instruction based on a subsample of the DESI study."
Rainer Lehmann (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Germany)
"Modeling academic growth in late primary/early secondary school as a function of transition patterns - How can distributional patterns be taken into account?"
Oliver Lüdtke (Universität Tübingen, Germany)
"Schools as differential learning environments: Challenges in estimating the causal effects of schools in the German school system."
Benjamin Nagengast (University of Oxford, UK)
"Doubly-latent contextual effect models: Their potential for school effectiveness research, league tables and causal inference."
Rodrigo Pinto (University of Chicago, USA)
"Early childhood experiments: Causality and inference of compromised randomized trials."
Susanne Rässler (Universität Bamberg, Germany)
"Imputation of potential outcomes to estimate treatment effects of small groups."
David Rindskopf (City University of New York, USA)
"Aggregation of effects from single subject designs."
Peter Steiner (University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA)
"Challenges and strategies in estimating propensity scores in educational research."
Rolf Steyer (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena, Germany)
"Theory and Analysis of Total, Direct, and Indirect Effects"
Felix Thoemmes (Universität Tübingen, Germany)
"The use of propensity scores in multilevel models."


Among the invited discussants are Eckhard Klieme (DIPF, Frankfurt, Germany), Hans Anand Pant (Humboldt-Universität Berlin), Donald B. Rubin (Harvard University, USA) and Stephen West (Arizona State University, USA).

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