School Improvement in Indiana: Exploring Differences Among Charter, Voucher Private, and Traditional Public High Schools

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SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT IN INDIANA: EXPLORING DIFFERENCES AMONG CHARTER, VOUCHER PRIVATE, AND TRADITIONAL PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS Abstract: School choice policies and programs seek to address increasing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities between children in grades K-12 in the United States. These programs and policies include charter schools and school vouchers (or scholarships) provided to qualifying families for attendance at a private school. Most school choice research to date has examined impacts on elementary and middle school students’ test scores and non-cognitive outcomes. However, there is comparably little research on longer term degree attainment outcomes (e.g., high school graduation, college enrollment). In the proposed Goal 1 exploratory study, we assess those longer-term outcomes by examining the impacts of Indiana’s charter schools and the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program (ICSP)—the largest private school voucher program of its type in the U.S.—on student outcomes in high school and postsecondary education. Our analysis uses a rich set of longitudinal, student-level records for public and private school students and schools in grades K-12 and beyond from a data sharing agreement with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). We use a matching approach with a host of robustness checks to examine the impact of school choice on a student’s high school end of course assessments, graduation rates, dropout, suspensions, and college enrollment in charter and voucher private high schools over a ten-year period (2009-10 through 2018-19). We will also identify the extent to which school choice policies in Indiana are reducing or exacerbating socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequality in high school students’ educational outcomes. We will also examine how school context (e.g., socioeconomic and racial/ethnic composition, suspension/expulsion rates) moderates and how student course-taking patterns mediates the effects of these policies. As school choice programs continue to increase in number, there is a need to understand the effects on a variety of high school student outcomes if we are to better advance sound practice and policy—especially as it relates to reducing the inequalities that currently define the education system.
Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/22


  • University of Notre Dame: $137,626.00


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