The Effects of the New Orleans Post-Katrina Market-Based School Reforms on Student Achievement, High School Graduation, and College Outcomes

Jul 2018 | Education Research Alliance for New Orleans

Original Source: Harris, D. N., & Larsen, M. F. (2018). “The Effects of the New Orleans Post-Katrina Market-Based School Reforms on Student Achievement, High School Graduation, and College Outcomes”. The Education Research Alliance for New Orleans Website: Publications.
Subject: School Reforms
Research question/s:

1.     What effect did the New Orleans reforms have on student achievement?

2.     What effect did the New Orleans reforms have on the high school graduation rate?

3.     What effect did the New Orleans reforms have on students’ college outcomes?

4.     How did the New Orleans reforms affect achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students?

Motivation/s: This study builds on the authors’ earlier analysis where they estimated the effect of the entire package of market-based reforms on test scores through 2012. Their method entails essentially subtracting the improvements in New Orleans from those in a carefully matched comparison group of students, schools, and districts elsewhere in Louisiana, and adjusting the result for any remaining demographic differences between the groups. Here, the authors use this method to examine a wider range of outcomes through 2014.
Data: The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) provided student-level longitudinally linked data for essentially all public school students in the state for each year 2001-2014
Methods: Difference-In-Differences Analysis
Findings:

1.     The reforms increased:

a.     Student achievement by 11-16 percentiles (depending on the subject and analysis method).

b.    The high school graduation rate by 3-9 percentage points.

c.     The college entry rate by 8-15 percentage points.

d.    The college persistence rate by 4-7 percentage points.

e.     The college graduation rate by 3-5 percentage points.

2.     For high school graduation and college outcomes, the effects are all in the range of 10-67% over where New Orleans stood just before the reforms. The reforms also improved all outcomes for disadvantaged students and reduced educational inequities for high school and college measures. It is very unusual to see programs and policies improve all of these outcomes.

Keywords: College Outcomes, College Readiness, High School Graduation, School Reforms, Student Achievement
Type: Technical Paper (also available as a Policy Brief)
Status of the Work: Published