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Getting beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City

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  • Will Dobbie
  • Roland G. Fryer Jr.

Abstract

In this paper, we collect data on the inner-workings of 39 charter schools and correlate these data with school effectiveness. We find that traditionally collected input measures—class size, per-pupil expenditure, teacher certification, and teacher training—are not correlated with school effectiveness. In stark contrast, we show that an index of five policies suggested by qualitative research—frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations— explains approximately 45 percent of the variation in school effectiveness. The same index provides similar results in a separate sample of charter schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer Jr., 2013. "Getting beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 28-60, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:28-60 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.4.28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2010. "Inputs and Impacts in Charter Schools: KIPP Lynn," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 239-243.
    3. Scott A. Imberman, 2011. "Achievement and Behavior in Charter Schools: Drawing a More Complete Picture," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 416-435.
    4. Joshua D. Angrist & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2013. "Explaining Charter School Effectiveness," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, pages 1-27.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2012. "Who Benefits from KIPP?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(4), pages 837-860, September.
    6. Scott A. Imberman, 2011. "Achievement and Behavior in Charter Schools: Drawing a More Complete Picture," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 416-435.
    7. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2011. "Injecting Successful Charter School Strategies into Traditional Public Schools: A Field Experiment in Houston," NBER Working Papers 17494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    9. Joshua D. Angrist & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2013. "Explaining Charter School Effectiveness," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, pages 1-27.
    10. Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1333-1350.
    11. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 231-263.
    12. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2011. "Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 17632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Vilsa E. Curto & Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2011. "Estimating the Returns to Urban Boarding Schools: Evidence from SEED," NBER Working Papers 16746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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