NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Christopher R. Walters

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Working Papers

July 2013Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston's Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice
with Joshua D. Angrist, Sarah R. Cohodes, Susan M. Dynarski, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters: w19275
We use admissions lotteries to estimate the effects of attendance at Boston's charter high schools on college preparation, college attendance, and college choice. Charter attendance increases pass rates on the high-stakes exam required for high school graduation in Massachusetts, with especially large effects on the likelihood of qualifying for a state-sponsored college scholarship. Charter attendance has little effect on the likelihood of taking the SAT, but shifts the distribution of scores rightward, moving students into higher quartiles of the state SAT score distribution. Boston's charter high schools also increase the likelihood of taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, the number of AP exams taken, and scores on AP Calculus tests. Finally, charter attendance induces a substantial s...
August 2011Explaining Charter School Effectiveness
with Joshua D. Angrist, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters: w17332
Estimates using admissions lotteries suggest that urban charter schools boost student achievement, while charter schools in other settings do not. We explore student-level and school-level explanations for these differences using a large sample of Massachusetts charter schools. Our results show that urban charter schools boost achievement well beyond ambient non-charter levels (that is, the average achievement level for urban non-charter students), and beyond non-urban achievement in math. Student demographics explain some of these gains since urban charters are most effective for non-whites and low-baseline achievers. At the same time, non-urban charter schools are uniformly ineffective. Our estimates also reveal important school-level heterogeneity in the urban charter sample. A non-lott...
February 2010Who Benefits from KIPP?
with Joshua D. Angrist, Susan M. Dynarski, Thomas J. Kane, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters: w15740
Charter schools affiliated with the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) are emblematic of the No Excuses approach to public education. These schools feature a long school day, an extended school year, selective teacher hiring, strict behavior norms and a focus on traditional reading and math skills. We use applicant lotteries to evaluate the impact of KIPP Academy Lynn, a KIPP charter school that is mostly Hispanic and has a high concentration of limited English proficiency (LEP) and special-need students, groups that charter critics have argued are typically under-served. The results show overall gains of 0.35 standard deviations in math and 0.12 standard deviations in reading for each year spent at KIPP Lynn. LEP students, special education students, and those with low baseline scores ben...

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