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You Can't Always Get What You Want: Using 'Broken Lotteries' to Check the Validity of Charter School Evaluations Using Matching Designs

35 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017  

Leesa Foreman

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Kaitlin P. Anderson

Michigan State University

Gary W. Ritter

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Patrick J. Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

We consider situations in which public charter school lotteries are neither universally conducted nor consistently documented. Such lotteries produce “broken” Randomized Control Trials, but provide opportunities to assess the internal validity of quasi-experimental research designs. Here, we present the results of a statewide charter school evaluation using a broad-based student matching evaluation design, and run two additional analyses using the charter application waitlists as robustness checks. Our additional models, which address concerns of self-selection by using only charter applicants as matched comparison students, yield similar effect estimates and thus provide support for the use of matching designs in charter school evaluations.

Keywords: school choice; charter schools; research methods; student matching

Suggested Citation

Foreman, Leesa and Anderson, Kaitlin P. and Ritter, Gary W. and Wolf, Patrick J., You Can't Always Get What You Want: Using 'Broken Lotteries' to Check the Validity of Charter School Evaluations Using Matching Designs (July 2017). EDRE Working Paper No. 2017-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3045966

Leesa Foreman (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Kaitlin Anderson

Michigan State University ( email )

201H Erickson Hall
620 Farm Lane
East Lansing, MI 48933
United States

Gary Ritter

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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