An Analysis of Academic Performance of Students Affected by Hurricane Katrina

Marisa Goldstein

Student Assessment Division, Department of Assessment, Accountability, and Data Quality
Texas Education Agency
March/April 2010

The Texas Education Agency wanted to know whether moving to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina improved the achievement of the displaced students. It matched Katrina students (defined as pupils from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida arriving in Texas and enrolling in Lone Star State schools after June 1, 2005) and “native” students with similar demographic characteristics. Using TAKS data from 2006 to 2009, researchers found that Katrina students in grade 3, 5, and 8 started out with lower TAKS scores than “native” matched students in 2006—no surprise there. But TEA also found that those same Katrina students made bigger gains in the intervening four years, resulting in marginally higher actual scores than their “native” peers in 2009. Compared to all Texas test takers, however, Katrina students didn’t do so well: Scores ranged from 2 percent better (grade 3 reading) to 12 percent worse (grade 8 math) than all students in Texas in 2009. Further, the “native” matched Texas students also performed significantly worse than total Texas test takers. This paper provides an interesting second perspective to the August 2009 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper on Katrina evacuees, which looked specifically at the effect of those transferred-in students on native student achievement. It found that an influx of Katrina students had a distinctly negative effect on receiving schools’ students’ test scores and an increase in disciplinary problems; but while native students struggled, this TEA report tells us that Katrina students actually benefited from their stint in Texas schools. Read the TEA report nt/resources/studies/KatrinaAnalysis2010.pdf" target="_blank">here.

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