School Closures and Student Achievement: An Analysis of Ohio’s Urban District and Charter Schools

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School Closures and Student Achievement: An Analysis of Ohio’s Urban District and Charter Schools examines 198 school closures that occurred between 2006 and 2012 in the Ohio ‘Big Eight’ urban areas (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown). The research included 120 closed district-run schools and seventy-eight closed charter schools. Taken together, these closures directly affected 22,722 students—disproportionately low-income, low-achieving, and minority students—who were in grades 3-8 at the point of closure.

The study reveals that children displaced by closure make significant academic gains on state math and reading exams after their school closes.

Three years after closure, the research found that displaced students overall made the following cumulative gains:

  • Students who had attended a closed district school gained forty-nine additional days of learning in reading and thirty-four additional days in math and;
  • Students who had attended a closed charter school gained forty-six additional days in math.

Further, the study reveals that students who attended a higher-quality school after closure made even greater progress. Three years after closure, displaced students who transferred to a higher-quality school made the following cumulative gains:

  • Students who had attended a closed district school gained sixty-nine additional days of learning in reading and sixty-three additional days in math and;
  • Students who had attended a closed charter school gained fifty-eight additional days of learning in reading and eighty-eight additional days in math.

Estimated gains are based upon a 180-day school year and are benchmarked against the gains displaced students would have likely made, had they attended their closed school.

Dr. Deven Carlson of the University of Oklahoma and Dr. Stéphane Lavertu of the Ohio State University conducted the research and authored the report. They used data provided by the Ohio Department of Education and applied empirical methods to gauge the impact of closure on students’ academic achievement.

Opinion
Shutting Bad Schools, Helping Students
By Michael J. Petrilli and Aaron Churchill
Wall Street Journal

Editorial
Closing schools has benefits
Editorial Board
Columbus Dispatch
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If you have questions about the book, please email Aaron Churchill.