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Alternative Approach: Assessing the Impact of HUD’s Assisted Housing Programs on Educational Opportunity and Well-being


Report Acceptance Date: April 2011 (48)

Posted Date: August 11, 2011

The purpose of this report is to provide an alternative approach to measuring educational opportunity for all children being served by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) assisted housing programs that can be used nationally to promote these children’s educational well-being. This alternative approach was developed to improve the precision and accuracy of HUD’s original approach to measuring educational opportunity (access to high quality schools) and well-being (children’s successful academic and behavioral progress) for students in assisted housing. The original approach links children’s assisted housing data from HUD with education data available through the Department of Education aggregated at the school level. Because education data are only available at the school level for the original approach, it is impossible to determine the child’s actual school of enrollment and the child’s individual educational outcomes. This measure of educational opportunity would be substantially limited because it assumes that (a) proximity to a high performing school equals attendance at that school, and (b) this proximity to a high performing school would equate to improved educational outcomes for children. Without individual-level educational records, these assumptions cannot be tested. The alternative approach presented in this report provides a framework for developing more precise and accurate measures of educational opportunity and well-being for children in HUD’s assisted housing programs using data at the individual level. There is currently no consensus in the education field regarding how to best measure school quality to inform children’s educational opportunity. The alternative approach also provides a recommended strategy for improving upon current school quality measures that depend primarily upon average standardized achievement test scores in each school.

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