The school uniform debate isn’t exactly raging these days, but there’s still data to be gathered and examined as to how slacks and blazers affect school kids. According to a new study by researchers at the University of Houston, school uniforms seem to be decently effective at improving student attendance and teacher retention, but have no real impact on improving student achievement. For their data, researchers looked at the effects school uniforms had on a large urban school district in the Southwest United States.
Here’s the abstract:
Uniform use in public schools is rising, but we know little about how they affect students. Using a unique dataset from a large urban school district in the southwest United States, we assess how uniforms affect behavior, achievement and other outcomes. Each school in the district determines adoption independently, providing variation over schools and time. By including student and school fixed-effects we find evidence that uniform adoption improves attendance in secondary grades, while in elementary schools they generate large increases in teacher retention.
They further find that:
[U]niforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary grades. Attendance rates in grades 6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school adopts uniforms. On the other hand, we find little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement, grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all genders and grade levels.