NEPC Review: The MPCP Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Second Year Report

The study under review is the second-year evaluation report of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), a publicly funded voucher program that allows low-income students in Milwaukee to attend secular and religious private schools in that city. Its primary finding is that there were no overall statistically significant differences in achievement growth in reading or math between MPCP and Milwaukee Public School (MPS) students over a one-year period. The study design and methods of analysis are sound overall. The relatively short duration of the treatment, however, raises questions about the usefulness of the findings.

Correction: On June 24, 2009, the authors of the report under review brought to our attention an error in the original May 28, 2009 review of their work by Casey Cobb. Professor Cobb has revised his review accordingly. In the initial review, Professor Cobb made an incorrect assumption about the sampling procedures used in the study. As a result, he drew the incorrect conclusion that the external validity of the findings was tempered by a non-random sample of MPCP students, and hence a non-representative sample of MPCP schools. As the study authors pointed out, the MPCP sample was in fact drawn randomly.

Suggested Citation: Cobb, C.D. (2009). Review of “The MPCP Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Second Year Report.” Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-MPCP-longitudinal

Document Reviewed:

The MPCP Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Second Year Report

John F. Witte, Patrick J. Wolf, Joshua M. Cowen, David J. Fleming, and Juanita Lucas-McLean
School Choice Demonstration Project