Research

The Educational Benefits of Attending Higher Performing Schools: Evidence From Chicago High Schools

October, 2016
Authors: 
Elaine M. Allensworth, Paul T. Moore, Lauren Sartain, and Marisa de la Torre

Policymakers are implementing reforms with the assumption that students do better when attending high-achieving schools. In this article, we use longitudinal data from Chicago Public Schools to test that assumption. We find that the effects of attending a higher performing school depend on the school’s performance level. At elite public schools with admission criteria, there are no academic benefits—test scores are not better, grades are lower—but students report better environments. In contrast, forgoing a very low-performing school for a nonselective school with high test scores and graduation rates improves a range of academic and nonacademic outcomes.

For additional findings on selective enrollment high schools, see this November 2016 working paper.

The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, October 2016 by SAGE Publications Ltd./SAGE Publications, Inc., All rights reserved. © 2016

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