NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Jennifer Heissel

Graduate School of Business and
Naval Postgraduate School
555 Dyer Road
Monterey, CA 93943

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Naval Postgraduate School

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2019Does Pollution Drive Achievement? The Effect of Traffic Pollution on Academic Performance
with Claudia Persico, David Simon: w25489
We examine the effect of school traffic pollution on student outcomes by leveraging variation in wind patterns for schools the same distance from major highways. We compare within-student achievement for students transitioning between schools near highways, where one school has had greater levels of pollution because it is downwind of a highway. Students who move from an elementary/middle school that feeds into a “downwind” middle/high school in the same zip code experience decreases in test scores, more behavioral incidents, and more absences, relative to when they transition to an upwind school. Even within zip codes, microclimates can contribute to inequality.
November 2018Testing, Stress, and Performance: How Students Respond Physiologically to High-Stakes Testing
with Emma K. Adam, Jennifer L. Doleac, David N. Figlio, Jonathan Meer: w25305
A potential contributor to socioeconomic disparities in academic performance is the difference in the level of stress experienced by students outside of school. Chronic stress – due to neighborhood violence, poverty, or family instability – can affect how individuals’ bodies respond to stressors in general, including the stress of standardized testing. This, in turn, can affect whether performance on standardized tests is a valid measure of students’ actual ability. We collect data on students’ stress responses using cortisol samples provided by low-income students in New Orleans. We measure how their cortisol patterns change during high-stakes testing weeks relative to baseline weeks. We find that high-stakes testing does affect cortisol responses, and those responses have consequences fo...
 
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