NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Study Verifies Higher Test Scores Under Voucher Programs

May 9, 2002

A new Brookings Institution study establishes that inner city black children in voucher programs consistently score higher than their peers in public schools.

Researchers analyzed data from voucher programs in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Antonio, Dayton, and the Children's Scholarship Fund. Among their findings:

  • Black students in New York City's privately funded voucher program had test scores substantially higher -- more than nine percentile points higher -- than public school students.
  • Overall, black children in voucher programs had test scores three percentile points higher in the first year, six percentile points higher in the second year and six percentile points higher in the third year, compared with peers in public schools.
  • In Washington, black students in voucher programs saw scoring gains after two years, but no significant difference from public school peers after three years.
  • One reason for this fading effect could be that the District extensively uses publicly funded but academically innovative charter schools, which are advancing many public school students.

The effect was not observed in New York City, which has very few charter schools.

The researchers cautioned that white and Hispanic children in voucher programs did not score significantly higher than their peers in public schools.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Scores of Blacks Rise With Vouchers," Washington Times, May 9, 2002; based on William G. Howell and Paul E. Peterson, "The Education Gap: Vouchers and Public Schools," 2002, Brookings Institution Press.

 

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