Background Note | HBS Case Collection | October 2006 (Revised November 2012)

Note on Student Outcomes in U.S. Public Education


Surveys educational outcomes among public school students in the United States. Educational outcomes are categorized as achievement outcomes (measured primarily by students' performance on standardized test results) and attainment outcomes (measured primarily by students' completion rates at various grade levels). Deals with outcome trends within the general U.S. school-aged population and covers educational outcomes in various subpopulations of students, including ones defined by race, income, family background, and gender. Describes student outcomes in U.S. public education; it does not explain them. For example, the first half of the note presents data on stagnating achievement levels in the general U.S. population over the last 30 years, but it does not cover in any detail the debate that surrounds the causes of this trend. Similarly, the second half of the note summarizes, but does not interpret explicitly, certain stark correlations between students' educational prospects and their race and socioeconomic status.

Keywords: Demographics; Education; Outcome or Result; Public Administration Industry; Education Industry; United States;


Childress, Stacey M., and Stig Leschly. "Note on Student Outcomes in U.S. Public Education." Harvard Business School Background Note 307-068, October 2006. (Revised November 2012.)