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The Association Between School Choice and Racial/Ethnic Test Score Gaps at the District Level

Blatt, Lorraine / R (2019) The Association Between School Choice and Racial/Ethnic Test Score Gaps at the District Level. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The rapid expansion of charter and magnet schools is restructuring public education in the United States. Most school choice research examines the implications of choice on a localized level and the findings are mixed; in some districts, school choice improves education equity while in others it intensifies inequity. Varied findings at the local level warrant macro-level research to understand broader trends in the relationship between school choice and achievement disparities. This study examines associations between district-level charter and magnet school enrollment and white-black and white-Hispanic test score gaps from 2008-09 to 2014-15 in third through eighth grade using data from the Stanford Education Data Archive (Reardon et al., 2018) and the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (2017). This study also examines the indirect effects of district-level white-black and white-Hispanic segregation on these associations. The most robust findings indicate that district-level charter school enrollment is associated with larger white-black test score gaps and this effect is mediated by white-black segregation. The findings also suggest that there is a significant association between magnet school enrollment and larger white-Hispanic test score gaps at the district level, but this association is not mediated by white-Hispanic segregation. Overall, this study provides critical information about macro-level associations between school choice, segregation, and test score gaps and suggests that the expansion of school choice may have negative implications for structural education equity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Blatt, Lorraine / RLRB66@pitt.eduLRB66
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVotruba-Drzal,
Committee MemberPearman, Francis /
Committee MemberBachman, Heather /
Date: 24 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 June 2019
Approval Date: 24 September 2019
Submission Date: 27 June 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 72
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: School districts, White-Black test score gap, White-Hispanic test score gap, Charter schools, Magnet schools, Segregation
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2019 20:14
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2019 20:14

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  • The Association Between School Choice and Racial/Ethnic Test Score Gaps at the District Level. (deposited 24 Sep 2019 20:14) [Currently Displayed]


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