ESSER and Student Achievement: Assessing the Impacts of the Largest One-Time Federal Investment in K12 Schools

From the brief: "We estimate the effects of federal pandemic-relief funding (ESSER III) for K12 schools on district-level student achievement growth in 2023. We rely on student test achievement data from over 5,000 school districts across 30 states. Our novel identification strategy exploits variation in ESSER attributable to its allocation rules and their relationship to Title I. We find that each $1,000 increase in ESSER per pupil funds led to statistically significant increases in district math scores of 0.008 standard deviations and similar but statistically insignificant increases in ELA scores. Our heterogeneity analysis suggests impacts were not even across district pre-pandemic spending levels, student race, or urbanicity. Our estimates provide some insight into how much investment may be needed for a full academic recovery from the pandemic: to recover losses remaining after 2023, we estimate schools would need to spend $9,000 to $13,000 per pupil."

Goldhaber, D., & Falken, G.
Date Display
June 2024