School districts that lost a significant number of students through Wisconsin’s open-enrollment program tended to see a boost in student achievement the following school year, a study has found.
Begun in 1998, the state’s open-enrollment program permits parents to transfer their children to any district outside their home district as long as they can cover the cost of transportation and the new district has room.
The researchers drew on state-testing data for grades 4, 8, and 10 for more than 420 districts between the 2002-03 and the 2005-06 school years.
Study co-author David M. Welsch of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater said the results suggest that the added competition might push districts that lose students to raise performance. The study was published last month in the Economics of Education Review.
A version of this article appeared in the February 29, 2012 edition of Education Week as Open Enrollment