Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final Report
From the executive summary:
The District of Columbia School Choice Incentive Act of 2003, passed by Congress in January 2004, established the first federally funded, private school voucher program in the United States. As part of this legislation, Congress mandated a rigorous evaluation of the impacts of the Program, now called the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). This final evaluation report presents the longer term effects of the Program on families who applied and were given the option to move from a public school to a participating private school of their choice.
The evaluation compares the outcomes of 2,300 eligible applicants randomly assigned to receive an offer (treatment group) or not receive an offer (control group) of an OSP scholarship through a series of lotteries. Although data on most of these outcomes—test scores, high school graduation, perceptions of school safety and satisfaction—were collected annually over four or five years, each year’s estimated impacts are cumulative in that they represent students’ entire educational experience between their application to the Program and the year the data were obtained. Some students offered scholarships never used them, while others used their scholarships to attend a participating private school at some point during the four- to five-year period.