by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
This week, David Figlio published “Evaluation of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program: Participation, Compliance and Test Scores in 2012-13.” The study is the latest in a series of mandated evaluations of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) Program.
Figlio concluded that the performance of FTC participants on norm-referenced tests of student performance met expectations.
On the performance side, while it is no longer possible to directly compare FTC participants’ test scores or gains to their Florida public school counterparts, it is possible to see how FTC participants fare relative to national norms. Students in some private schools gain considerable ground relative to peers nationally, while students in other private schools lose considerable ground relative to national peers. On average, FTC participants on average keep pace with national norms, suggesting that they neither gain ground nor lose ground on average relative to a national peer group that includes not just low-income families but also higher-income families.
There appears to be notable variations in the quality of private schools that enroll FTC students, although other factors surely play a role.