Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Matthew P. Steinberg


Student mobility—the event of students moving into and out of schools—is prevalent and has established negative relationships with both academic and non-cognitive outcomes for mobile students and the classrooms and schools that serve them. Despite this, there is a dearth of research examining student mobility, and, in particular, only a sparse literature that allows for causal interpretations of the causes and consequences of student mobility. The research presented in this dissertation aims to address some of the gaps in the literature on student mobility. Chapter one of the dissertation presents a framework that defines student mobility and outlines the relationships between causes and consequences of mobility within different contexts. Chapter two uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort to explore student- and school-level correlates of mobility, as well as relationships between mobility and academic achievement. In chapters three and four, I empirically examine student mobility in the context of charter schools. In chapter three I use data from the Evaluation of Charter School Impacts to estimate the effect of charter school admissions and attendance on student mobility. Chapter four uses statewide data from Colorado to explore student mobility within the traditional and charter school sectors. Together I find that: 1) rates of mobility vary based on student background characteristics and indicators of school quality, 2) students who won admissions to charter middle schools were less likely to experience mobility than their peers who lost admissions lotteries, 3) mobility rates in Colorado’s charter schools are higher than in TPSs in the state, both descriptively and after controlling for school characteristics, and 4) the motivation for student mobility and the relative quality of students’ sending and receiving schools are important moderators of mobility’s relationship with student achievement.