DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING – Principal Investigator for the Institute of Education Sciences Study at the University of Arkansas Patrick Wolf is the last witness to testify. He is the academic researcher who led the federally mandated evaluation. He says that this is the largest randomized experiment of a school voucher program.
He says that the study found that the program had statistically significant positive impact on the use of a scholarship. He says that examining the results over time suggest that the academic gains grow overtime in reading. The more a child is in the program the greater their gains in reading grow. This trend does not appear in math.
Dr Wolf places this program in context, saying that the majority of other federal programs evaluated by rigorous research have not delivered statistically significant gains for disadvantaged children.
He says that the evaluation is continuing. An evaluation in 2010 will consider test score gains as well as new factors like graduation rates. He says the results show that the program is improving parental satisfaction.
Sen Lieberman argues that the continuing evaluation is a good reason to continue the program and the experiment.