Measures of Student Non-Cognitive Skills and Political Tolerance after Two Years Of The Louisiana Scholarship Program
47 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2016 Last revised: 1 Mar 2016
Date Written: February 24, 2016
This report examines the short-term effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) on students’ non-cognitive skills and civic values. While a growing number of studies have evaluated K-12 school voucher programs along academic dimensions, few have focused on the development of non-cognitive skills and civic values. This study aims to address that gap by providing the first analysis of differences in self-reported measures of grit, locus of control, self esteem, and political tolerance associated with the LSP. Using results from a phone survey of applicants to the program, we find little evidence of differences between LSP scholarship recipients and non-recipients. Nevertheless, diagnostics assessing the precision of our instruments to detect differences between subjects indicate that several of the scales measuring non-cognitive skills performed poorly in our sample. Moreover, our relatively low survey response rate of 11 percent raises concerns about the representativeness of our sample. Given these issues, we caution that our results are best understood as descriptive and not necessarily conclusive: they do not represent reliable estimates of the causal impact of the LSP on student non-cognitive skills and political tolerance.
Keywords: school vouchers, non-cognitive skills, conscientiousness, political tolerance, self-esteem, locus of control, civic values
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