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How Does Student Mobility Affect New Orleans Students?

A Research Snapshot by Beth Glenn analyzes student mobility in New Orleans schools.

Policy Brief Cover

How Does Student Mobility Affect New Orleans Students?

by Beth Glenn

Stu­dent mobil­i­ty is a com­mon con­cern, par­tic­u­lar­ly in high-pover­ty areas where mobil­i­ty rates are high. There is some evi­dence that mobil­i­ty may under­mine edu­ca­tion­al out­comes. A relat­ed con­cern is that school choice poli­cies, which may have cer­tain ben­e­fits, might lead to even high­er mobil­i­ty rates. 

This study from Non-Res­i­dent Research Fel­low Beth Glenn ana­lyzes New Orleans stu­dents’ school moves made between 2015 – 16 and 2018 – 19 and draws the fol­low­ing conclusions: 

  1. New Orleans’ almost-all char­ter dis­trict and near­by Jef­fer­son Parish’s more tra­di­tion­al school dis­trict had sim­i­lar lev­els of stu­dent mobility.
  2. New Orleans stu­dents who were Black or eco­nom­i­cal­ly dis­ad­van­taged moved more fre­quent­ly than their New Orleans peers.
  3. New Orleans stu­dents who moved one or more times had low­er achieve­ment out­comes before their moves than stu­dents who nev­er moved.

The study focus­es on moves that hap­pened dur­ing the school year and those that occurred when stu­dents moved dur­ing the sum­mer from a school that offered their next grade the fol­low­ing year. On one hand, these types of moves may have neg­a­tive effects on stu­dent out­comes because stu­dents lose rela­tion­ships from their pre­vi­ous school and may expe­ri­ence gaps or rep­e­ti­tion in cur­ricu­lum. On the oth­er hand, stu­dents may ben­e­fit from such moves if they are mov­ing to a high­er qual­i­ty school or a school that bet­ter suits their needs. While stu­dent mobil­i­ty due to school clo­sures and takeovers may occur in school choice set­tings, this study excludes such moves.

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