Centralized Choice

School districts around the world use centralized school choice

How does it work?

  • Students submit a ranked list of schools to the centralized institution.
  • The institution uses some computer algorithm called a school choice mechanism to assign students to schools.
  • The mechanism makes assignments using priority groups and random lottery numbers in order to break ties.
  • Priority groups usually depend on things like the neighborhood families live in or whether you they a sibling at the school to which they are applying to.

Which details matter for families?

  • Some districts use mechanisms where the goal is to make it so that families' best strategy is to simply write down the schools they like in order.
    • Boston, New York, Denver
  • Other districts use mechanisms where families' best strategy depends on knowing how hard it is to get into different schools.
    • Charlotte, Barcelona, Beijing
  • Which one is better for a district depend on what schools families like (preferences) and how much families know about school choice (beliefs)
  • This is why this project is about measuring and understanding preferences and beliefs