Vol 8, No 1 (2013)

The Negative Effects of Student Mobility: Mobility as a Predictor, Mobility as a Mediator

Policy discussions on how to improve educational outcomes have traditionally focused on schools and teachers. While schools and teachers have measurable effects on educational outcomes, reforms aimed at only improving schools and teachers have failed to eliminate persistent achievement gaps. Thus, some scholars have argued for a broader, bolder approach to education. These scholars have investigated the effect of nonschool factors, such as health and early childhood care, on educational outcomes. The present study is intended to add to this growing body of literature. Two analyses that were conducted to examine the effect of student mobility on achievement are discussed. The first uses a multi-level analysis to investigate the relationship between student mobility and reading achievement of students. The second analysis uses aggregate school-level data to investigate if student mobility mediates the relationship between a school's socioeconomic status and its academic achievement levels. The results suggest that student mobility is indeed a predictor of academic struggles—at the individual student level as well as the school level—and should be included in the increasing number of conversations aimed at changing social policies to improve student outcomes.

Table of Contents

Policy and Leadership

Jimmy Scherrer