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Impact of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program: Achievement Effects for Students in Upper Elementary and Middle School


  • R. Joseph Waddington
  • Mark Berends


This paper examines the impact of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program on student achievement for low‐income students in upper elementary and middle school who used a voucher to transfer from public to private schools during the first four years of the program. We analyzed student‐level longitudinal data from public and private schools taking the same statewide standardized assessment. Overall, voucher students experienced an average achievement loss of 0.15 SDs in mathematics during their first year of attending a private school compared with matched students who remained in a public school. This loss persisted regardless of the length of time spent in a private school. In English/Language Arts, we did not observe statistically meaningful effects. Although school vouchers aim to provide greater educational opportunities for students, the goal of improving the academic performance of low‐income students who use a voucher to move to a private school has not yet been realized in Indiana.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Joseph Waddington & Mark Berends, 2018. "Impact of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program: Achievement Effects for Students in Upper Elementary and Middle School," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 37(4), pages 783-808, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:37:y:2018:i:4:p:783-808
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.22086

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    Cited by:

    1. Resul Cesur & Pinar Mine Gunes & Erdal Tekin & Aydogan Ulker, 2023. "Socialized Healthcare and Women’s Fertility Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 58(3), pages 1028-1055.
    2. Corey A. DeAngelis & Patrick J. Wolf, 2019. "Will Democracy Endure Private School Choice? The Effect of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program on Adult Voting Behavior," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 34(Summer 20), pages 1-21.
    3. McEachin, Andrew & Lauen, Douglas Lee & Fuller, Sarah Crittenden & Perera, Rachel M., 2020. "Social returns to private choice? Effects of charter schools on behavioral outcomes, arrests, and civic participation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).

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