ERIC Number: ED449268
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
The Effect of School Vouchers on Student Achievement: A Response to Critics. Occasional Paper.
Howell, William G.; Wolf, Patrick J.; Peterson, Paul E.; Campbell, David E.
This paper responds to critics of an August 2000 paper that reported the effects of educational vouchers on student test scores in three cities. The report found that: (1) after 2 years, no students other than African Americans seemed to benefit from vouchers; and (2) African Americans in all three cities posted moderately large test score gains after 2 years. This paper responds to such criticisms as: the experimental group may have been biased, since some of the most disadvantaged voucher winners did not switch to private schools and were excluded, and the key finding improperly compared two dramatically different groups and may reflect private school screening-out of the most at-risk students; purported gains for African Americans are overstated; gains displayed by African American children are most distinct during their first year in a private school, but then the achievement advantage, relative to their peers in public schools, levels off; the demonstrated gains from using vouchers are limited to math, as reading performance appears to be more difficult to budge; and reported test score gains may be due to the declining share of students who appeared for the standardized tests from years 1 and 2. These criticisms are based upon an inaccurate characterization of the analysis. They misunderstand the design of the study and incorrectly suggest that it drops some students from the analysis. (SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Kennedy School of Government.