B. Key Findings - School Choice and Supplemental Educational Services
Although more students were eligible to participate in the Title I school choice option than in supplemental educational services, a larger number of students actually participated in the supplemental services option. Based on district reports, more than twice as many students were eligible to transfer to another school under the Title I school choice option in 2004-05 (5.2 million) as were eligible to receive supplemental services (2.4 million). However, nearly ten times as many students actually participated in the supplemental services option (446,000) as participated in the school choice option (48,000) in that year (see Exhibit 9).
- Student participation in both Title I choice options has increased several fold since the first year of implementation of the NCLB choice provisions. Participation in the school choice option more than doubled over the three-year period from 2002-03 to 2004-05, while participation in supplemental services increased more than ten-fold.
- In a sample of nine urban districts2, African-American students had the highest participation rate of all racial and ethnic groups in Title I supplemental services and an above-average participation rate in Title I school choice (16.9 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively). Hispanic students, LEP students, and students with disabilities had relatively high participation rates in supplemental services and relatively low participations rates in school choice (see Exhibit 10).
- Although nationally nearly all districts required to offer school choice and supplemental services reported that they notified parents about these options, a survey of eligible parents in eight urban school districts2 found that many parents were unaware of these choice options. Among parents with a child eligible for the Title I school choice option, 27 percent said they had received notification about this option from the school district, while 53 percent of parents with a child eligible for supplemental services said they had been notified.
- Most participating students received supplemental services from a private provider, but school districts and public schools also served a substantial share of participants. Private firms accounted for 86 percent of approved providers in May 2007, while school districts and public schools accounted for only 11 percent of providers. However, earlier data, from 2003-04, indicate that school districts and public schools serve a relatively high proportion of participating students (40 percent).
- Based on a survey of supplemental service providers in 16 school districts3, services were most often provided at the student's school. Sixty-one percent of providers in the 16 districts reported that services were always or often provided at the student's school; other locations were the local office of the provider (26 percent), libraries or community centers (19 percent), and over the internet (11 percent).
- Services are provided both through one-on-one tutoring and through group instruction. In the 16 districts, over half of the providers said that they often or always served students one-on-one (52 percent) or in small groups (52 percent), while 34 percent said services were often or always provided in large groups. Services were provided for an average of 57 hours per student per year in those districts, and students attended an average of 78 percent of the sessions. Maximum funding per student, as reported by districts, was $1,434 in 2004-05.
- States reported that they were working to develop and implement systems for monitoring and evaluating the performance of supplemental service providers, but, as of early 2005, 15 states had not established any monitoring process, 25 states had not yet established any standards for evaluating provider effectiveness, and none had finalized their evaluation standards. Seventeen states said they will evaluate the provider services against student achievement on state assessments. One of these states planned to use a matched control group. The most common approaches that states have implemented to monitor providers are surveying the districts about provider effectiveness (25 states) and using providers' reports on student-level progress (18 states).
- Although NCLB assigns states the responsibility for monitoring and evaluating providers, a survey of providers in 16 districts found that the providers reported more frequent monitoring by districts than by states. For example, over half (51 percent) of the providers said that district staff observed supplemental service sessions at least a few times a year, compared with only 22 percent that experienced this frequency of observations by state staff.
2 An analysis of Title I choice options in nine large urban school districts provides more in-depth information about the characteristics of participating students in these districts; a survey of parents was also conducted in eight of the nine districts. Because this district sample was not nationally representative, findings cannot be generalized to the nation.
3 A survey of 125 supplemental services providers in 16 school districts provides additional information about the services provided in these districts. Because the district sample was not nationally representative, findings cannot be generalized to the nation.