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To ease interpretation and examine the effects of co-location, the remainder of the discussion focuses on the results from models that estimate charter school effects using a distance gradient (table 3). Similar to the results using a continuous distance measure, charter school effects are positive and increasing with charter school proximity in both subjects. After charter school entry, students attending a co-located school perform 0.083 SD better in math and 0.059 SD better in ELA, and those students in TPSs between 0 and one-half mile from the nearest charter school perform 0.021 SD higher in math and 0.020 SD higher in ELA. There are no significant effects of charter schools on students in TPSs located farther than one-half mile from the nearest charter school, and when the distance gradient is expanded up to three miles, there is no evidence of negative spillovers on TPSs that are located farther away from charter schools.

Table 3.
Effects of Charter Schools on Test Scores by Proximity with Pre-trends, AY 1997—2010, Students in Grades 3—5
MathELAAttendanceRetention
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)
Charter         
Co-located 0.083** 0.082** 0.059* 0.057* 0.268*** 0.279*** −0.011*** −0.012*** 
 (0.035) (0.035) (0.032) (0.032) (0.067) (0.072) (0.004) (0.004) 
1/2 mile 0.021*** 0.021*** 0.020*** 0.018*** 0.051 0.059 −0.009*** −0.010*** 
 (0.006) (0.007) (0.006) (0.006) (0.044) (0.049) (0.001) (0.001) 
1 mile 0.008 0.007 0.009 0.007 0.134** 0.143** −0.005*** −0.006*** 
 (0.006) (0.006) (0.005) (0.006) (0.054) (0.060) (0.001) (0.001) 
1 1/2 miles  −0.007  −0.009  0.042  −0.002* 
  (0.008)  (0.007)  (0.052)  (0.001) 
2 miles  0.007  0.000  0.032  −0.004*** 
  (0.008)  (0.008)  (0.053)  (0.001) 
2 1/2 miles  0.003  −0.013  −0.046  −0.002 
  (0.013)  (0.013)  (0.063)  (0.002) 
3 miles  −0.007  0.007  −0.013  −0.004 
  (0.014)  (0.014)  (0.054)  (0.002) 
Observations 1,902,662 1,902,662 1,823,691 1,823,691 1,307,052 1,307,052 1,962,504 1,962,504 
R2 0.444 0.444 0.401 0.401 0.993 0.993 0.214 0.214 
MathELAAttendanceRetention
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)
Charter         
Co-located 0.083** 0.082** 0.059* 0.057* 0.268*** 0.279*** −0.011*** −0.012*** 
 (0.035) (0.035) (0.032) (0.032) (0.067) (0.072) (0.004) (0.004) 
1/2 mile 0.021*** 0.021*** 0.020*** 0.018*** 0.051 0.059 −0.009*** −0.010*** 
 (0.006) (0.007) (0.006) (0.006) (0.044) (0.049) (0.001) (0.001) 
1 mile 0.008 0.007 0.009 0.007 0.134** 0.143** −0.005*** −0.006*** 
 (0.006) (0.006) (0.005) (0.006) (0.054) (0.060) (0.001) (0.001) 
1 1/2 miles  −0.007  −0.009  0.042  −0.002* 
  (0.008)  (0.007)  (0.052)  (0.001) 
2 miles  0.007  0.000  0.032  −0.004*** 
  (0.008)  (0.008)  (0.053)  (0.001) 
2 1/2 miles  0.003  −0.013  −0.046  −0.002 
  (0.013)  (0.013)  (0.063)  (0.002) 
3 miles  −0.007  0.007  −0.013  −0.004 
  (0.014)  (0.014)  (0.054)  (0.002) 
Observations 1,902,662 1,902,662 1,823,691 1,823,691 1,307,052 1,307,052 1,962,504 1,962,504 
R2 0.444 0.444 0.401 0.401 0.993 0.993 0.214 0.214 

Notes: All distance indicators are mutually exclusive. Co-located charter equals 1 for a student in all years that a charter school is open in the same building as the first school she is observed attending. Charter within 1/2 mile equals 1 for a student in all years that the closest charter school is located more than 0 but less than 1/2 mile from the traditional public school (TPS) she was first observed attending. Charter within 1 mile equals 1 for a student in all years that the closest charter school is located more than 1/2 but less than 1 mile from the TPS she was first observed attending. All other indicators are measured analogously. All models contain individual-level controls for race, gender, free and reduced-price lunch eligibility, special education, Limited English Proficiency, nativity, recent immigrant status, lagged test scores, residence borough, grade, year, school effects, and controls 3, 4—6, 7—9, and 10 or more years prior to charter school entry (1—2 years prior is the omitted category). Standard errors are clustered at the school-year level. Robust standard errors in parentheses.

***p < 0.01; **p < 0.05; *p < 0.1.

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