Explaining Charter School Effectiveness”

The NBER Digest; December 21, 2011

Over-subscribed urban char­ter schools that admit stu­dents by lot­tery have pro­duced the largest improve­ment in stu­dent achievement.

Comparisons of those who did and did not win char­ter school admis­sions lot­ter­ies in Massachusetts sug­gest that urban char­ter schools boost stu­dent achieve­ment. In Explaining Charter School Effectiveness (NBER Working Paper No.17332), Joshua Angrist, Parag Pathak, and Christopher Walters find that stu­dent demo­graph­ics are related to the extent of this improve­ment: urban char­ter schools are most effec­tive for non-whites and low-baseline achiev­ers. They also find that while over-subscribed urban char­ter schools that admit stu­dents by lot­tery have pro­duced the largest improve­ment in stu­dent achieve­ment, non-urban char­ter schools are uni­formly inef­fec­tive in rais­ing mea­sured achievement.”

 

By Linda Gorman