Moving On Up? A Virtual School, Student Mobility, and Achievement

This quasi-experimental study by James D. Paul and Patrick J. Wolf looks at differences in student test scores at virtual schools and at other public schools, while accounting for student mobility (i.e., students changing school during the school year). The authors match students in a large virtual charter school to similar students in other public schools. Previous research has found that virtual schools negatively impact test scores, but the authors argue that this may be due to confounding factors, given that moving during a school year is associated with both virtual school attendance and worse test scores. However, the authors find that virtual schooling negatively effects students’ math scores even when accounting for student mobility.

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