Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Education Reform


Jay P. Greene

Committee Member

Patrick J. Wolf

Second Committee Member

Robert M. Costrell


charter schools, educational evaluation, education policy, field trips, randomized control trial, school vouchers


Education policy debates over the last twenty years have focused on the need to increase students’ test scores. The federal government and states have implemented and expanded a variety of test-based, school accountability policies. Accountability pressures have incentivized schools to narrow their curriculum, decrease time allocated to extracurricular activities, and focus on short-term student outcomes. This dissertation focuses on expanding outcomes in educational program evaluations and demonstrates the value of looking beyond the goal of increasing student test scores. The first chapter, using random assignment, estimates the causal effects of culturally enriching field trips on various student outcomes. Such field trips have been declining in part due to accountability pressures. We find evidence that such field trips can actually have a positive impact on student achievement as well as school engagement. The second chapter focuses on post-secondary outcomes for students. Also using an experimental design, we evaluate the impact of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on the likelihood of students entering college. Despite the program negatively affecting student test scores, we find that the program had no significant effect on the likelihood that students enter college. Finally, the third chapter takes a broader approach and evaluates systemic effects created by charter schools. Using nationwide data, I analyze the extent to which charter schools crowd out private schools in the market. I find evidence that charter and private schools compete for student enrollment, and as charter schools remain in the market, the quantity of private schools decreases.