Monday, October 19, 2009

The effects of school uniforms?

This paper investigates an interesting question, namely whether requiring students to wear uniforms has an effect on student academic outcomes - although this is not usually the rational for uniforms. The effect is zero at elementary level but positive at high school. One hesitates to extrapolate this trend to higher education..

Dressed for Success: Do School Uniforms Improve Student Behavior, Attendance, and Achievement?
Scott Imberman & Elisabetta Gentile

Concerns about safety in urban schools has led many school districts to require uniforms for their students. However, we know very little about what impact school uniforms have had on the educational environment. In this paper we use a unique dataset to assess how uniform adoption affects student achievement and behavior in a large urban school district in the southwest. Since each school in the district could decide independently about whether or not to adopt uniforms, we are able to use variation across schools and over time to identify the effects of uniforms. Using student and school fixed-effects along with school-specific linear time trends to address selection of students and schools into uniform adoption, we find that uniforms had little impact on student outcomes in elementary grades but provided modest improvements in language scores and attendance rates in middle and high school grades.

No comments: