Using Propensity Scores in Educational Research: General Principles and Practical Applications

Suzanne E. Graham, University of New Hampshire
Michal Kurleander, University of California - Davis


Educational researchers frequently study the impact of treatments or interventions on educational outcomes. However, when observational or quasiexperimental data are used for such investigations, selection bias can adversely impact researchers’ abilities to make causal inferences about treatment effects. One way to deal with selection bias is to use propensity score methods. The authors introduce educational researchers to the general principles underlying propensity score methods, describe 2 practical applications of these methods, and discuss their limitations.