HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATES IN MASSACHUSETTS: CONTRIBUTING SCHOOL FACTORS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF A CHANGE IN SCHOOL CHOICE MECHANISM

Download
2021-6
Akbulut, Orhun
It is viewed that high dropout rates in high school in the US is still a relevant and persistent problem. Apart from the individual reasons, school-related factors also contribute to the decision of dropping out. School choice mechanisms, the algorithms through which students are placed into high schools, might also be relevant for the decision to drop out due to the importance of placing the right students into right schools. To this end, I study the school related factors influencing the dropout rates of schools in Massachusetts through school level data and then I analyze whether the change of school choice mechanism for Boston high schools in school year 2006-2007, from Boston Mechanism to Student Optimal Stable Mechanism, had any significant effect on dropout rates. For the purpose of understanding the underlying school related factors, I develop two models, one single year OLS model and one multi-year fixed effects panel data model. To understand the effect of the school choice mechanism change, I employ a difference-in-differences methodology. Results indicate that, even after controlling for the other school-related variables and school-time fixed effects, attendance rate is the most significant variable in predicting the dropout rates, with a strong negative association. It is observed that socio-economic composition and racial composition of the students are significant when a single year is considered and insignificant when the school and time fixed effects are controlled for. School choice mechanism change, however, is determined to be statistically insignificant in affecting the dropout rates.
Citation Formats
O. Akbulut, “HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATES IN MASSACHUSETTS: CONTRIBUTING SCHOOL FACTORS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF A CHANGE IN SCHOOL CHOICE MECHANISM,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.