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ERIC Number: ED543585
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
Choosing Indianapolis Charter Schools: Espoused versus Revealed Academic Preferences. Research Brief
Stein, Marc; Goldring, Ellen; Cravens, Xiu
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University (NJ1)
Much of the debate surrounding school choice in general and charter schools in particular revolves around the types of students who choose to leave their traditional public schools in favor of enrolling in charter schools and the possible effects of these choices on the schools that they leave behind (Dee & Fu, 2004; Henig, 1994; Schneider, Teske, & Marschall, 2000). As noted by Witte and Thorn (1996), "Who chooses and why?" are important questions because school choice decisions may have implications for the overall educational landscape. The current study aimed for a deeper understanding of the driving forces behind parents' decisions to enroll their children in charter schools. Researchers from the National Center on School Choice collected survey data from 2,493 parents (84 percent response rate) with children enrolled in 15 Indianapolis charter schools in the spring of 2007. To validate survey findings, researchers also looked at data from the Northwest Evaluation Association's (NWEA) growth research database (GRD) of student testing records as well as the adequate yearly progress (AYP) status of students' previous traditional public schools and current charter schools. Central research questions of this study were: (1) To what extent do parents say they enroll their children in charter schools for academic versus other reasons?; and (2) How do these espoused preferences compare to revealed (actual) preferences based on school-switching behavior? The study compared parents' espoused reasons for choosing specific charter schools for their children (gathered from surveys) with their actual choices of charter schools (NWEA and AYP data of both the sending and receiving schools were examined). Of specific interest to researchers was whether parents actually made school choice decisions based on factors related to academic quality or whether there were other considerations driving their behavior. Key findings include: (1) Surveyed parents indicate that academics are a top priority in their choice of a charter school; and (2) Academics do not always drive decision making when parents change their children's schools. (Contains 3 footnotes.)
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University. Box 459 GPC, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203. Tel: 615-322-8107; Fax: 615-322-8828; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Vanderbilt University, National Center on School Choice
Identifiers - Location: Indiana