Investigating the Causal Effects of Student Mobility on Negative Academic Outcomes

Kristina L. Zeiser, Pennsylvania State University

While much research has investigated the negative consequences of transferring schools, researchers do not agree whether 1) school transfers cause students to have worse academic outcomes or 2) the relationship between school transfers and academic outcomes is spurious due to the relative economic, social, and academic disadvantages experienced by transfer students. This study utilizes the National Education Longitudinal Study and propensity score modeling to provide a more stringent test of the causal relationship between school transfers and academic outcomes. The results indicate that transferring schools once during high school causes students to have lower levels of bachelor’s degree attainment and lower GPAs, and transfer students also complete significantly fewer units in math and science. Moreover, transferring more than once during high school leads to more dramatic disadvantages in academic outcomes, though there are few significant differences between students who transfer once and students who transfer more than once.

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Presented in Poster Session 2