A Survival Analysis of Student Mobility and Retention in Indiana Charter Schools


  • Holmes Finch Ball State University
  • Dan Lapsley University of Notre Dame
  • Mary Baker-Boudissa Ball State University




charter schools, student mobility, event history analysis


Research has demonstrated that high rates of student mobility are associated with a range of negative academic outcomes, both for students who leave their schools and those who remain behind. The current study focused on mobility among those enrolled in charter schools in the state of Indiana. A multilevel Cox Proportional Hazards survival analysis model was used to identify significant predictors of student mobility within and from a state charter school system, using factors at both the student and school levels. Results indicated that initial student achievement upon first entering a charter school, student ethnicity, participation in a Title I funded program, and average years of teacher experience at the school were all associated with the decision to leave the charter. Specifically, students with higher initial achievement scores, those eligible for Title 1 services, and non-Caucasian students were more likely to leave charter schools prematurely. In addition, schools with a more experienced faculty had lower early departure rates than did those with less experienced teachers.


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Author Biographies

Holmes Finch, Ball State University

Holmes Finch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University and Director of Research for the Office of Charter Schools Research. His research interests include various areas in statistical analysis including structural equation modeling and item response theory, as well as charter school effectiveness.

Dan Lapsley, University of Notre Dame

Dan Lapsley is the ACE Collegiate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology, and Coordinator of Academic Programs for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). His research focuses on social cognitive and personality development during adolescence and early adulthood, including self, ego and identity development, adolescent invulnerability, decision-making and risk behavior, and narcissism.

Mary Baker-Boudissa, Ball State University

Mary Baker-Boudissa is the Assistant Director of the Office of Charter Schools Research at Ball State University.




How to Cite

Finch, H., Lapsley, D., & Baker-Boudissa, M. (2009). A Survival Analysis of Student Mobility and Retention in Indiana Charter Schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17, 18. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v17n18.2009