The Louisiana Scholarship Program has widely varying effects on students, according to a series of studies released jointly by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas and the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University:
- The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement After Two Years
- Measures of Student Non-Cognitive Skills and Political Tolerance After Two Years of the Louisiana Scholarship Program
- The Impact of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Racial Segregation in Louisiana Schools
- The Competitive Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Public School Performance
- Students who use the voucher to enroll in private schools end up with much lower math achievement than they would have otherwise, losing as much as 13 percentile points on the state standardized test, after two years. Reading outcomes are also lower for voucher users, though these are not statistically different from the experimental control group in the second year.
- There is no evidence that the Louisiana Scholarship Program has positive or negative effects on students' non-cognitive skills, such as "grit" and political tolerance.
- The program reduced the level of racial segregation in the state. The vast majority of the recipients are black students who left schools with student populations that were disproportionally black relative to the broader community and moved to private schools that had somewhat larger white populations.
- The program may have modestly increased academic performance in public schools, consistent with the theory behind school vouchers that they create competition between public and private schools that "lifts all boats."
"While the results did improve from the first to the second year, this is still a cautionary tale," said Jonathan Mills of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans. "We need to learn more about why the results are so different in Louisiana compared with voucher programs in other states."