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Researchers release “An Impact Analysis of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program on Student Achievement”

Editor’s Note: Today, these researchers at N.C. State released an evaluation of the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program, which “provides state-funded vouchers of up to $4,200 per year for eligible students in kindergarten through twelfth grade to attend participating private schools.” To assess impact on math and reading, they recruited 698 students from public and private schools to take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a nationally-normed standardized assessment in spring 2017. A matching approach was “utilized to maximize comparability between the public and private school student samples.”

The impact analysis finds “large positive impacts associated with voucher usage in North Carolina.”

“It may be the case,” says the analysis, “that the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program truly has a positive impact on student achievement, perhaps because it reaches highly economically-disadvantaged
students who have few school choice options in the absence of the program and perhaps the highest potential for academic growth, as a result.” The researchers consider other possibilities, including research design and whether the test used “unfairly advantaged the private school students.”

Anna Egalite

Anna J. Egalite is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development in the College of Education at N.C. State University.

Trip Stallings

Trip Stallings is the Director of Policy Research at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University.

Stephen Porter

Stephen Porter is a professor in the College of Education at N.C. State University.