New studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER):
In “The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes,” Will Dobbie of Princeton University and Roland Fryer of Harvard University find that students randomly assigned (via lottery) to the Promise Academy in the Harlem (NY) Children’s Zone scored higher on a nationally-normed math achievement test and were about 14 percentage points more likely to enroll in college. Admitted females were 12 percentage points less likely to be pregnant in their teens. Males were over 4 percentage points less likely to be incarcerated.
Duke University researchers Atila Abdulkadiroğlu and Weiwei Hu, along with Parag A. Pathak of MIT, published a new NBER study, “Small High Schools and Student Achievement: Lottery-Based Evidence from New York City.” They concluded that students randomly assigned to small high schools had “positive score gains in Mathematics, English, Science, and History, more credit accumulation, and higher graduation rates.” There were also longer term benefits. They found, “Small school attendance causes a substantial increase in college enrollment, with a marked shift to CUNY institutions. Students are also less likely to require remediation in reading and writing when at college.
Christopher Avery of Harvard University examined the “College Possible” program, which provided two years of college preparatory work for high school juniors and seniors in Minneapolis and St. Paul. He concluded, “The results indicate that the College Possible program significantly increased both applications and enrollment to both four-year colleges and selective four-year colleges; we estimate that initial enrollment at four-year colleges increased by more than 15 percentage points for program participants, but find little evidence of any effect of the program on ACT performance or college enrollment overall.”
The bottom line – Random-assignment studies indicate that high quality charter schools, small high schools, and dual enrollment programs raise student achievement and increase college acceptance and enrollment. They also generate longer-term social and educational benefits for children.