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ERIC Number: ED504213
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 132
Abstractor: ERIC
Study of the Voluntary Public School Choice Program. Final Report
Yin, Robert K.; Ahonen, Pirkko S.
US Department of Education
The Voluntary Public School Choice (VPSC) Program supports the emergence and growth of choice initiatives across the country, by assisting states and local school districts in developing innovative strategies to expand public school choice options for students. This report contains the final assessment of the first five years of the VPSC Program (2002-07). The evaluation was charged with assessing VPSC progress in meeting the goals and fulfilling the intent of the original legislation. At the end of five years, the VPSC Program, though limited to grant awards at only 13 sites, showed a variety of different public school choice arrangements working in a diverse array of communities across the country. Analysis focused on four legislative priorities found that: (1) The VPSC Program made progress on the first priority in providing the widest variety of choice in participating schools; (2) Transfers from low- to higher-performing schools comprised only a portion of the students enrolled in the VPSC initiatives, with only three of the 13 sites limiting their enrollment to transfers from low- to higher-performing schools; (3) Most VPSC sites limited their choice initiatives to within-district options, rather than developing inter-district options; and (4) Relative to enrollment, transportation costs did not increase as might have been expected, because the VPSC initiatives permitted many students who were already attending distant schools to select schools closer to home. Data from a limited set of VPSC sites and students enrolling in their choice initiatives showed improved trends in math and reading, compared to matched groups of non-enrolling students. The gains were statistically significant, but the findings need to be tempered by several cautions: (1) the voluntary nature of choosing to enroll in a VPSC initiative and the possibility that the VPSC enrollees were more highly motivated students than non-enrollees; (2) the procedure for selecting the matched groups of non-enrolling students; (3) the length of time covered by the trends; and (4) data came from only four of the 13 VPSC sites and only six of 38 cohorts of annual enrollees across all of the VPSC sites. Despite such cautions, the report concludes that findings offer early promise regarding the potential benefits of the VPSC Program. Three appendixes are included: (1) Detailed Evaluation Methodology; (2) Instruments Used in the National Evaluation; and (3) Supplemental Data about Individual VPSC Sites. (Contains 40 footnotes and 37 exhibits.) [For the Interim Report, see ED504211.]
US Department of Education. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Fax: 301-470-1244; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Education (ED), Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A