School Choice & Charters A National Roundup

Evaluation of D.C. Vouchers Finds No First-Year Academic Edge

July 17, 2007 1 min read

First-year returns on the congressionally enacted voucher program for the District of Columbia generally show no academic advantage for participating students when compared with a control group of similar students who attended Washington’s public schools, a federal study concludes.

At the same time, it found, parents were more satisfied with their child’s school if they were offered a scholarship.

The evaluation, issued June 21 by the Institute of Education Sciences, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, compared the test scores of a sample of participating students who attended a private secular or parochial school and those of a group of students who applied for the vouchers, but did not receive them.

The analysis showed no statistically significant impact overall on the mathematics- and reading-test scores for the voucher students compared with the control group. The report said there may have been a positive impact on math achievement for two subgroups of students with baseline characteristics associated with better academic performance.

The federal program, enacted in 2005-06, provides vouchers of up to $7,500 to low- income families living in Washington.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in the District of Columbia. See data on the District of Columbia’s public school system.

For background, previous stories, and Web links, read Vouchers and Choice.

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A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2007 edition of Education Week

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