DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SCHOOLS OF CHOICE AND NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS IN THEIR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT: A TEXAS MULTI-YEAR INVESTIGATION

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2022-05-01T05:00:00.000Z

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The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to determine the degree to which school choice was related to the academic achievement of Texas high school students. Schools of choice were compared to neighborhood high schools in terms of their students’ passing rates in the standardized End-of-Course (EOC) exams in English I and Algebra I. The Approaches Grade Level, Meets Grade Level, and Masters Grade Level performances standards were examined for (a) students in poverty, (b) students identified as being at-risk, and (c) students of color for the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 school years.

A causal-comparative research design was used for all three studies. Archival data were collected from the Texas Education Agency through a Public Information Request form for the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 school years.

Students of poverty enrolled in neighborhood high schools outperformed their peers enrolled in schools of choice in both content areas except at the Masters Grade Level standard. Students at-risk from traditional high schools performed better than students from schools of choice on the English I EOC exam but not on the Algebra I EOC exam. Students at-risk from schools of choice outperformed their peers from traditional campuses on the Algebra I EOC exam at the Meets Grade Level and Masters Grade Level standards. Hispanic students enrolled in traditional campuses overall outperformed their peers from schools of choice at the Approaches Grade Level and Meets Grade Level standards but not at the Masters Grade Level standard on the English I EOC exam and on the Algebra I EOC exam except at the Meets Grade Level standard in the 2016-2017 school year. Black students enrolled in schools of choice did better than their peers from traditional campuses on the English I EOC exam but not on Algebra I EOC exam. Because of these mixed results, the capacity of school choice programs to influence academic achievement is inconclusive. Nevertheless, based on the positive outcomes, the small positive effects, and the absence of negative outcomes for all student groups, the potential for school choice programs to provide benefits for historically underperforming students needs further investigation.

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Education; Administration

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