An Analysis of the Effect of School Quality on Transfer Student Achievement
Morrison, Donna R
Several education policies prominent in recent years, such as school closings and school choice, increase student mobility in order to move students to better performing schools. There is a large research base demonstrating the negative effect of transferring schools on student achievement, but less is known about how going to a higher quality school moderates this effect. I examine this question using data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, a national study that follows 10th grade students into their college and careers. My study assesses the effect on student GPA of students who transferred to better, worse, or the same quality schools, as well as how this effect differed based on their reason for transferring schools. I find that, while there is a significant negative effect on GPA from transferring, changes in school quality are unrelated to transfer student GPA. Furthermore, of the stated reasons for transferring, those students who transferred for better instruction or for better programs were negatively affected by transferring.
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