Averaged across the general student population, there was no statistically significant correlation between a school’s spending levels and its students’ academic performance in 27 of the 28 academic indicators used in the model. In the only category that did show a statistically significant correlation — seventh-grade math — the impact of spending more was very small. The model shows that a school would need to spend 10 percent more to improve its average seventh-grade math scale score by just .0574 points.

The table below lists the findings by each academic indicator. The figures represent the increase in a scale score or graduation rate that could be expected with a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending. As is customary when reporting these types of results, an asterisk next to a figure indicates that the finding is statistically significant, meaning there is better than a 90 percent chance that the finding is different from zero. On the other hand, a number with no asterisk means that the finding is not statistically robust (not different from zero). This was the case for 27 of the 28 academic indicators.

Graphic 2: Increase per 10 Percent Per-Pupil Spending Increase, 2007-2013

Academic Indicator

Increase Per 10% Spending Increase

3rd Grade Math

0.1297

4th Grade Math

0.0505

5th Grade Math

0.2514

6th Grade Math

-0.0714

7th Grade Math

0.0574*

8th Grade Math

0.0243

3rd Grade Reading

0.0894

4th Grade Reading

0.0035

5th Grade Reading

0.1419

6th Grade Reading

0.0514

7th Grade Reading

0.0386

8th Grade Reading

-0.0249

5th Grade Science

0.2013

8th Grade Science

-0.0143

ACT Composite

0.0003

ACT English

0.0009

ACT Math

0.0008

ACT Reading

-0.0049

ACT Science

0.0031

ACT Writing

0.0064

MME Math

0.0460

MME Reading

-0.0535

MME Science

0.0304

MME Social Studies

0.0559

MME Writing

0.0259

Four-year Graduation Rate

0.0580

Five-year Graduation Rate

0.0042

Six-year Graduation Rate

0.0494