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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NCEE 20164007 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Features of Schools in DC
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), established in 2004, is the only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents in the United States. This evaluation brief is based on a 2014 survey of Washington DC school principals and compares features of DC traditional public schools, charter schools, and those private schools that participate in the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). Findings suggest public school principals, compared to OSP private school principals, viewed their schools less favorably in areas such as academic climate, teachers' instructional skills, and school safety. However, public school principals reported students spent more time receiving math and reading instruction than did private school principals.
8/2/2016
NCEE 20154000 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: An Early Look at Applicants and Participating Schools Under the SOAR Act
This report explores implementation of the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) in the first two years after Congress reauthorized it with some changes under the SOAR Act of 2011. Key findings include the following: (1) Just over half of all DC private schools participated in the OSP, with current schools more likely to have published tuition rates above the OSP scholarship amounts than did participating schools in the past; (2) OSP applicants under the SOAR Act represent between three and four percent of the estimated 53,000 children in DC who meet the eligibility criterion; (3) A number of awarded scholarships go unused, with students from disadvantaged schools and families using awarded scholarships at lower rates than others.
10/7/2014
WWC SSR218 WWC Review of the Report "The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City"
The study examined the effects of the New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program (SCSF) on college enrollment outcomes. The program provided private school vouchers to public school students from low-income families. Approximately 2,600 first- to fifth-grade New York City public school students from low-income families were randomly assigned either to be offered the SCSF program or not. Students in the intervention group received a school voucher of up to $1,400 annually to attend any private school in New York City. Students in the comparison group did not receive a voucher. Study authors assessed the effectiveness of the SCSF program on encouraging the college enrollment of participants by comparing college enrollment rates of students in the intervention and comparison groups through the fall of 2011 (within 3 years of expected graduation).
5/14/2013
WWC QR0912 Quick Review: "The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City"
The study examines the effects of private school vouchers on college enrollment outcomes. The vouchers were given to low-income elementary-age students through the New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation (SCSF) program. The study found no differences of the offer of a school voucher on college enrollment; however, there was a positive impact of vouchers on college enrollment (part-time and full-time) for African-American students. In addition, the study reported that African-American students who were offered a school voucher had statistically significantly higher rates of attending a private 4-year university or a selective 4-year university. The study also found no statistically significant effects of school vouchers on any of the outcomes assessed for the subgroup of Hispanic students.
9/18/2012
WWC SSRSC121 WWC Review of the Report "Milwaukee Parental Choice Program Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Fifth Year Report"
The study examined the effectiveness of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), which provides vouchers for low-income students to attend private schools. In 2010, about 21,000 children participated in the MPCP, and the maximum voucher amount was nearly $6,500. The study estimated the effect of the voucher program by comparing over 600 MPCP students' standardized test scores in 2010--four years after they were given a voucher--with those of comparison group students.
8/7/2012
WWC QRDCSF0308 Quick Review of the Report "Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final Report"
The WWC quick review of the report "Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final Report" examines a study on whether winning a lottery for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which offers vouchers to students to attend private schools, improved low-income students' reading and math achievement and their probability of graduating from high school. Key outcomes were reading and math achievement on standardized tests for the full sample and, for a subset of 500 students scheduled to complete 12th grade by spring 2009, parent reports on whether their children earned a high school diploma. The study found that winning a lottery for a private school scholarship did not have statistically significant effects on reading and math achievement. However, students who won the scholarship lottery were significantly more likely to graduate from high school: 82% for the group that won the lottery compared with 70% for the group that lost the lottery, an effect size of 0.26. Similar results were found for the subset of students attending schools designated as “in need of improvement” under the No Child Left Behind Act when they applied for a scholarship. Winning the lottery did not have a statistically significant effect on reading or math achievement, but it increased the likelihood of high school graduation from 66% to 79%, an effect size of 0.28. The WWC rated the research described in this report as meeting WWC evidence standards. This study was equivalent to a randomized controlled trial because the groups of students contrasted in the study were formed by lottery.
3/8/2011
WWC QRMP0808 The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Third Year Report
This study examined whether students who use a voucher to attend private school have greater mathematics and reading achievement than students who attend public schools. The study analyzed data on more than 2,200 elementary and middle school students from public and private schools in Milwaukee. The authors found no significant differences between math and reading achievement of students who used a voucher to attend private school and of comparison students from Milwaukee Public Schools. The WWC does not consider these results to be conclusive because it could not verify from data presented in the study whether the voucher- and comparison-group students were initially equivalent in math and reading achievement. The WWC rated the research described in this report as not consistent with WWC evidence standards and cautioned that, in addition to its concern about pre-study equivalency, some voucher participants had been in private schools for several years before the matching occurred; therefore, differences in test scores do not capture the full impact of the voucher program.
9/8/2010
NCEE 20104018 Evaluation of the Impact of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final Report
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) is the first federally funded voucher program in the United States, providing scholarships of up to $7,500 for low-income residents of the District of Columbia to send their children to local participating private schools.

The congressionally mandated evaluation of the Program compared the outcomes of about 2,300 eligible applicants randomly assigned to receive or not receive an OSP scholarship through a series of lotteries in 2004 and 2005. This final report finds that the Program had mixed longer-term effects on participating students and their parents, including:
  • No conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall, or for the high-priority group of students who applied from "schools in need of improvement."
  • The Program significantly improved students' chances of graduating from high school, according to parent reports. Overall, 82 percent of students offered scholarships received a high school diploma, compared to 70 percent of those who applied but were not offered scholarships. This graduation rate improvement also held for the subgroup of OSP students who came from "schools in need of improvement."
  • Although parents had higher satisfaction and rated schools as safer if their child was offered or used an OSP scholarship, students reported similar ratings for satisfaction and safety regardless of whether they were offered or used a scholarship.
The evaluation also found that the cumulative loss of students between 2004 and 2009 from DC Public Schools (DCPS) to the Program was about 3 percent. In contrast, an estimated 20 percent of students annually change schools or leave DCPS. Thus, OSP-related transfers to private schools may not have been distinguishable from the larger share of other student departures.
6/22/2010
NCEE 20134004 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

For report NCEE 2010-4018 Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104018/index.asp.

The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program is the first federally funded voucher program in the United States. A congressionally-mandated evaluation of the effectiveness of the program was conducted with two cohorts of applicants (spring 2004 and spring 2005) who entered lotteries to determine whether they would receive a private school scholarship. These approximately 23000 students were administered academic assessments and they and their parents, along with DC public and private school principals, were surveyed over four years about their experiences. These data were released along with the final report (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104018/index.asp).

6/1/2010
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