The Evolution of Charter School Quality
Issue/Topic: Choice of schools--charter schools
Author(s): Baude, Patrick L.; Casey, Marcus; Hanushek, Eric A.; Rivkin, Steven G.
Organization(s): University of Illinois at Chicago (Baude, Casey, Rivkin); Stanford University (Hanushek)
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published On: 10/1/2014
Previous studies show conflicting evidence on the impact of charter schools on academic achievement compared to traditional public schools. Advocates point to the high quality of a number of oversubscribed schools while opponents highlight the mediocre average outcomes and large variability in performance among the broader set of charter schools. Two studies provide evidence consistent with effective marker forces pushing charter schools to improve.
1) To describe how the distribution of charter school quality in Texas, one of the largest charter school states, evolved between 2001 and 2011 2) To investigate the extent to which more fundamental factors--changes over time in student turnover, student selection into and out of charters, and the share of schools that adhere to a "no excuses" philosophy--contribute to the observed changes in school quality
The analysis provides support for the belief that market forces are generating improvements in the charter sector. During the period of the study:
- Charter schools that closed were drawn disproportionately from the share of less effective charter schools.
- Charter schools that opened far outperformed those that closed.
- Charter schools that remained open exhibited increases in average school value added.
The analysis also provides support for beliefs about the following factors thought to improve the charter school sector:
- Factors that contribute to the debate about charter schools:
- Expansion of the share of charters that adhere to a No Excuses philosophy
- Increases in selectivity of entering students
- Factor that contributes to a deeper understanding of the adverse effects of turnover on the learning environment in all schools:
- Reduction in student turnover as the charter school sector matures
The authors recommend a longer-term perspective on the impact of major education reforms, particularly those that rely on parental decisions and market forces, such as charter schools.
This study can be found at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2518735
Or at: http://harris.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/Rivkin.paper_.pdf
Over 400 charter school campuses and their enrollees from 2001 to 2011
Year data is from:
2001 to 2011
Data Collection and Analysis:
Used data from the microdata constructed by the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, which includes test scores, demographic characteristics, and information on school attendance and academic programs from a panel of students and schools. Analysis also considered mathematics and reading assessment scores. Constructed a unique data base that classifies charter schools based on whether they adhere to a "no excuses" philosophy.
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