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Who Benefits from Attending Effective Schools? Examining Heterogeneity in High School Impacts (WP-20-54)

Kirabo Jackson, Shanette Porter, John Q. Easton, and Sebastián Kiguel

The researchers estimate the longer-run effects of attending an effective high school (one that improves a combination of test scores, survey measures of socio-emotional development and behaviors in ninth-grade) for students who are more versus less educationally advantaged (i.e., likely to attain more years of education based on eighth-grade characteristics). All students benefit from attending effective schools. However, the least advantaged students experience the largest improvements in high-school graduation, college-going, and school-based arrests. These patterns are driven by the least advantaged students benefiting the most from school impacts on the non-test-score dimensions of school quality. However, while there is considerable overlap in the effectiveness of schools attended by more and less advantaged students, it is the most advantaged students that are most likely to attend highly effective schools. These patterns underscore the importance of quality schools, and the non-test score components of quality schools, for improving the longer-run outcomes for less advantaged students.

Kirabo Jackson, Abraham Harris Professor of Education and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Shanette Porter, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Mindset Scholars Network

John Q. Easton, Senior Fellow, UChicago Consortium on School Research

Sebastián Kiguel, Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Graduate Research Assistant, Northwestern University

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