Charter School Practices and Student Selection: An Equilibrium Analysis

This theoretical paper by Dennis Epple, Francisco Martinez-Mora, and Richard suggests a framework for understanding how the educational standards and practices charter school organizers adopt relate to the kinds of students they attract and their students’ academic gains. Using a synthetic dataset created with data points taken from the literature, they develop a model to examine how parental income, student ability, and student motivation match with the level of instruction and effort targeted by charter schools and what that means for achievement gains associated with student choosing a charter school over a traditional public school. The findings suggest that, overall, charter schools that attract high-ability students through offering a more rigorous curriculum than traditional public schools have modest achievement gains. However, No Excuses charter schools, which have high expectations for students and require higher levels of student effort, can maximize achievement gains through attracting low-ability students with high levels of motivation.

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