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ERIC Number: EJ763259
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Competition Passes the Test
Greene, Jay P.; Winters, Marcus A.
Education Next, v4 n3 p66-71 Sum 2004
Advocates of vouchers believe that public schools facing the threat of losing students and funding to private schools will take the measures necessary to raise student performance. Opponents worry that vouchers will actually leave public schools worse off by draining them of funds and encouraging the best students and the most involved parents to flee a failing school. Florida's A+ program affords a unique opportunity to test these competing predictions. The A+ program offers all the students in schools that chronically fail the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) the opportunity to use a voucher to transfer to a private school. Schools face the threat of vouchers only if they are failing. They can remove the threat by improving their test scores. To give a measure of how public schools respond to competition, the authors conducted a study by comparing the performance of schools that were threatened with vouchers and the performance of those that faced no such threat. School-level test scores on the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 administrations of the FCAT and the Stanford-9, a national norm-referenced test that is given to all Florida public school students around the same time as the FCAT, were collected to analyze the program's impact on public schools. The results indicate that the gains witnessed among low-performing schools are the result of the competitive pressures introduced by school vouchers. Moreover, the similarity of their findings on both the high-stakes FCAT and the low-stakes Stanford-9 indicates that the gains reflect genuine improvements in learning. In the absence of student-level information, results must remain tentative. Nonetheless, the study yields solid evidence that public schools will react positively to being forced to compete with private schools for students and the dollars they carry. (Contains 2 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test