Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Private school vouchers: student do worse in math, no better in n English Language Arts

As one of the largest voucher programs in the U.S., the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program has over 34,000 students participating to date. This paper examines the impact of the voucher program for students in upper elementary and middle school who use a voucher to transfer from a public to a private school during the 2011-12 through 2014-15 school years—the first four years of the program. 

The authors analyze longitudinal data for students (grades 3-8) and use multiple approaches to estimate impacts of the voucher program due to the uniqueness of Indiana public and private schools taking the same standardized assessment over time. Overall, students who receive a voucher experience an average annual loss of 0.10 standard deviations in mathematics after attending a private school compared with matched public school students. The largest math losses occur during the first and second year that voucher students attend a private school.

In English Language Arts (ELA), the authors find no statistically meaningful overall effects. However, special education voucher students experience an average annual loss of 0.13 standard deviations in ELA, while voucher students attending Catholic schools experience small annual gains in ELA. 

Across both subjects, voucher students who exit private schools and return to public schools experience modest-to-substantial achievement losses during their time in private schools. 

Related articles:

School vouchers study: Private school students don't test better

School Vouchers Get 2 New Report Cards

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