The New York City High School Match

Peer-reviewed Publication

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, and Alvin E. Roth

December 2005

In coordination with the New York City Department of Education, Abdulkadiroglu, Pathak, and Roth explore the mechanism which matches over 90,000 entering students to public high schools each year.  They report on the process to reveal that New York City needs more good schools.  Given the stock of seats, more students can be admitted to the schools they want if the matching process eliminates congestion to more fully account for students’ preferences.

New York City has the largest public school system in the country, with over a million students.  In 1969 the system was decentralized into over 30 community school districts. In the 1990s, the city began to take more centralized control, and in 2002, a newly reorganized NYCDOE began to reform many aspects of the school system. Jeremy Lack, then the NYCDOE Director of Strategic Planning, contacted the team for advice on designing a new high-school matching process. The three authors advised Lack and his colleagues, and the DOE’s software vendor, about the design of the match.