Lauen, Douglas Lee
To Choose or not to Choose: High School Choice and Graduation in Chicago
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This article examines differences in graduation
rates between participants and nonparticipants of Chicago’s many public high school choice programs.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 179-199
- The unconditional on-time graduation propensity gap between those who exercise high school choice and those who remain in their neighborhood schools is 11.2 percentage points.
- Sociodemographic student characteristics associated with lower graduation rates include being male, in foster care, old for one’s grade, and having high previous school mobility.
- Students who exercised school choice as an elementary school student had higher likelihoods of graduating on time
- Higher levels of SES are associated with higher graduation rates, whereas neighborhood concentrated poverty is negatively associated with graduation propensity, net of student SES and other sociodemographic characteristics.
- Conditional on sociodemographic characteristics, SES, neighborhood concentrated poverty, prior math achievement, self-efficacy, and disciplinary incidences, there are no graduation rate gaps between Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics.
- Specifically, living in a low-poverty neighborhood is associated with a higher choice effect than living in a neighborhood with medium or high poverty.
- There is evidence to support the hypothesis that students living in neighborhoods with high-achieving high schools are more likely to graduate, but there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that students in neighborhoods with high-achieving schools get more (or less) benefit from exercising school choice (the high school achievement) choice interaction effect is not statistically different from zero).
Journal Article Historical Analysis
Choice, Graduation Rates, Poverty, SES
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
High school students
Unit of Analysis:
- Data come from administrative records on all students enrolled in a Chicago public school eighth-grade classroom during spring 2000.
- School choice is defined as attending a non-assigned public high school or exiting the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for a private sector high school.
- On-time graduation is defined as graduating from a Chicago public high school by spring 2004.
- Also includes three survey measures to control for variables that could confound the relationship between choice and graduation propensity: student self-efficacy, self-reported disciplinary incidences, and family SES (a measure of learning resources in the home). These measures come from the Consortium on Chicago School Research’s spring 1999 survey of elementary school students. Although the survey is designed as a census of all students and schools, not all schools participated. As a result, about 40% of students have missing values on survey items.
- The analysis includes 16,532 students enrolled in 410 elementary schools as eighth graders.
- DV: Graduation rate (measured as on-time graduation, defined as graduating from a Chicago public high school by spring 2004)
- IV: School choice (measured as attending a nonassigned public high school or exiting the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for a private sector high school)