National Bureau of Economic Research
The authors analyze two experiments that provided direct information on school test scores to lower-income families in a public school choice plan. They find that receiving information significantly increases the fraction of parents choosing higher-performing schools. Parents with high-scoring alternatives nearby were more likely to choose non-guaranteed schools with higher test scores. Using random variation from each experiment, they find evidence that attending a higher-scoring school increases student test scores. The results imply that school choice will most effectively increase academic achievement for disadvantaged students when parents have easy access to test score information and have good options to choose from.