Home About Latest Browse RSS Advanced Search

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Working Paper Series
The Impact of Chicago's Small High School Initiative
Lisa Barrow
Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
Amy Claessens
Abstract

This project examines the effects of the introduction of new small high schools on student performance in the Chicago Public School (CPS) district. Specifically, we investigate whether students attending small high schools have better graduation/enrollment rates and achievement than similar students who attend regular CPS high schools. We show that students who choose to attend a small school are more disadvantaged on average, including having prior test scores that are about 0.2 standard deviations lower than their elementary school classmates. To address the selection problem, we use an instrumental variables strategy and compare students who live in the same neighborhoods but differ in their residential proximity to a small school. In this approach, one student is more likely to sign up for a small school than another statistically identical student because the small school is located closer to the student’s house and therefore the “cost” of attending the school is lower. The distance-to-small-school variable has strong predictive power to identify who attends a small school. We find that small schools students are substantially more likely to persist in school and eventually graduate. Nonetheless, there is no positive impact on student achievement as measured by test scores.


Download Full text
Cite this item
Lisa Barrow & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Amy Claessens, The Impact of Chicago's Small High School Initiative, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper Series WP-2014-20, 01 Nov 2014.
More from this series
JEL Classification:
Subject headings:
Keywords: Chicago Public School (CPS); high school
For corrections, contact Bernie Flores ()
Fed-in-Print is the central catalog of publications within the Federal Reserve System. It is managed and hosted by the Economic Research Division, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Privacy Legal