Monday, January 28, 2019

School choice in New Haven: studied by Kapor, Neilson and Zimmerman and switching from immediate to deferred acceptance

The New Haven Independent reports on efforts to change school choice there:
Profs Tapped To Fix School-Choice Lottery

"Would knowing the exact odds make any difference in the parents’s choices? If they’d been warned about their slim chances, would they be more likely to swap in a backup? If they still went ahead with a big gamble, should the lottery administrators take that as a signal of how deeply they care about their picks?

"The school district has tapped three academics to study those very questions in an effort to make the lottery process more transparent, simple and equitable this year.

"At its Monday night meeting on Meadow Street, the Board of Education’s Finance & Operations Committee recommended approving a non-financial agreement with three assistant professors —  Princeton’s Adam Kapor and Christopher Neilson and University of Chicago’s Seth Zimmerman —  to recommend how the district could do a better job marketing and communicating about a revamped enrollment process.

"As part of the agreement, New Haven will change the algorithm that it uses to assign students in 2019-20. Modeled on applications in New York, Chicago and Boston, the new model will ideally reward students for listing the schools that they’d like to attend rather than for gaming the system."

The project started with a study of the system's current, immediate acceptance algorithm

"In the paper, which was published in the American Economic Review in 2016, Kapor, Neilson and Zimmerman said that there’s currently more uninformed parents making mistakes than sophisticated gamblers making savvy bets. They concluded that “offering some means to learn about admissions probabilities for different portfolios” would likely be “welfare-improving.”

"Figuring out exactly what that will look like is the subject of Kapor, Neilson and Zimmerman’s next experiment.
As part of the memorandum of understanding that the Finance & Operations Committee reviewed on Monday, the academics agreed to provide a data analyst who will assist the Choice & Enrollment Office in-house at no charge for the next two years. With additional surveys and data analysis, they’ll review how the revamped lottery changes placement outcomes, family satisfaction and student achievement."

For more on the investigators, see

No comments: