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High School Choice in NYC: A Report on the School Choices and Placements of Low-Achieving Students (2013)


The findings show that low-achieving students attended schools that were lower performing, on average, than those of all other students. This was driven by differences in students’ initial choices: low-achieving students’ first-choice schools were less selective, lower-performing, and more disadvantaged. Overall, lower-achieving and higher-achieving students were matched to their top choices at the same rate. Importantly, both low- and higher-achieving students appear to prefer schools that are close to home, suggesting that differences in students’ choices likely reflect, at least in part, the fact that lower-achieving students are highly concentrated in poor neighborhoods, where options may be more limited.