Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston's Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice

50 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2013

See all articles by Joshua D. Angrist

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sarah Cohodes

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Susan M. Dynarski

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Education

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Christopher Walters

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 18, 2013

Abstract

We use admissions lotteries to estimate the effects of attendance at Boston’s charter high schools on college preparation, college attendance, and college choice. Charter attendance increases pass rates on the high-stakes exam required for high school graduation in Massachusetts, with especially large effects on the likelihood of qualifying for a state-sponsored college scholarship. Charter attendance has little effect on the likelihood of taking the SAT, but shifts the distribution of scores rightward, moving students into higher quartiles of the state SAT score distribution. Boston’s charter high schools also increase the likelihood of taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, the number of AP exams taken, and scores on AP Calculus tests. Finally, charter attendance induces a substantial shift from two-to four-year institutions, though the effect on overall college enrollment is modest. The increase in four-year enrollment is concentrated among four-year public institutions in Massachusetts. The large gains generated by Boston’s charter high schools are unlikely to be generated by changes in peer composition or other peer effects.

JEL Classification: I210, I230, I240, I280

Suggested Citation

Angrist, Joshua and Cohodes, Sarah and Dynarski, Susan M. and Pathak, Parag A. and Walters, Christopher, Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston's Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice (September 18, 2013). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4396. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2327528

Joshua Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Sarah Cohodes

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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Susan M. Dynarski (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Education ( email )

610 East University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259
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Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
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Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Christopher Walters

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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