Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vouchers, Responses and the Test Taking Population: Evidence from Florida

This study analyzes the Florida voucher program that embedded vouchers in an accountability regime. Specifically, it investigates whether threat of vouchers and stigma associated with the Florida voucher program induced schools to strategically manipulate their test-taking population. Under Florida rules, scores of students in several special education and limited English proficient categories were not included in the computation of school grades. Did this induce the threatened schools to reclassify some of their weaker students into these “excluded” categories so as to remove them from the effective test taking pool?

The author finds evidence in favor of strategic reclassification into the excluded LEP category in high stakes grade 4 and entry grade 3; but no evidence that the program led to such reclassification into excluded ESE categories. This is consistent with substantial costs associated with classification into ESE categories during this period.