High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Students’ Standardized Test Performance
Sociological Science, forthcoming
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Patrick Sharkey, and Johanna Lacoe
This paper examines the effect of exposure to violent crime on students’ standardized test performance among a sample of students in New York City public schools. To identify the effect of exposure to community violence on children’s test scores, we compare students exposed to an incident of violent crime on their own blockface in the week prior to the exam to students exposed in the week after the exam. The results show that such exposure to violent crime reduces performance on English Language Arts assessments, and no effect on Math scores. The effect of exposure to violent crime is most pronounced among African Americans, and reduces the passing rates of black students by approximately 3 percentage points.