The Impact of No Child Left Behind Public School Choice on Student Mobility and Achievement
Nicotera, Anna Charise
The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate the public school choice provision of the federal 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), a policy that widened the availability of public school choice options in the United States by permitting students who attended low-performing schools in need of improvement the option to move to a higher performing public school in the district. This dissertation uses seven years of longitudinal student-level data and school fixed-effects models to examine whether there was within school variation for schools that switched NCLB public school in student intra-district mobility, the characteristics of schools selected, and student performance. Findings from the three research questions suggest that the NCLB public school choice policy had the intended impact of increasing intra-district mobility and changing patterns in terms of the types of schools students selected. However, for schools in the sample, it does not appear that NCLB public school choice had the intended effect of increasing academic gains in math or reading for students who transferred when their schools offered federal school choice options. The results from this dissertation are consistent with previous research on the impact of NCLB public school choice. The federal school choice policy resulted in slightly more intra-district mobility and students selected higher performing schools, but the impact of NCLB public school choice on student performance gains was indiscernible.