ERG SES H 04, Efficacy and Success in Education
We contribute to the literature by studying how schools policies affect pupils’ outcomes and the equality of educational outcomes. Accountability, autonomy, choice and competition play a leading role in recent school reforms in many countries but, how those school policies affect pupils’ outcomes and moreover the equality of educational outcomes is a tricky question. Latter is defined as an independence of student outcomes from family background (FB) characteristics. Our objective is to indicate that competition does not only bring along efficiency, but it has a negative effect on equity.
The most hotly disputed debates in educational policy, in the last twenty years have undoubtedly been those centred on autonomy, accountability and parental choice (Wößmann, 2008). These words have led an increasing claim for schools’ accountability and more a school faces competition, more independence it has from the central government and more it has to be accountable for its outcomes (Bush, 1994; Sockett, 1980).
Since Friedman (1955, 1962) initiated the school choice literature, the topic has attracted many scholars to investigate the effects on pupils’ achievements. Continuous stream of pupils cross the education systems and schools achieve their stated missions/expectations in several ways. Their policies affect family decisions and these are reflected into pupils’ outcomes.
We propose to give a deeper understanding of the school policies in Italy (competition, accountability, autonomy) and how these policies affect pupils’ achievements. The OECD-PISA 2012 which is based on standardized tests compiled by a sample of 15 years old pupils and the multilevel model - given the nested nature of the dataset – are used for the analysis. The novelty of the paper is to show that that these policies will not only bring along efficiency, but they also have a negative effect on equity.
We use PISA 2012 for Italy. Student’s school achievement is operationalised by test scores, while inputs such as school resources, teacher’s efforts and quality and other family characteristics are operationalised by a variety of measures. The paper focuses on schools policies controlling for individual and family level measures. Multilevel modelling is used to evaluate the impact of schools policies on students’ achievements.
Our preliminary results indicate that having competition between schools creates additional efficiency increasing students’ scores but, it comes on the expense of the equity. Better pupils with better background characteristics are pulled together in high competitive schools – choice and competition harm equity. However, we show that competition will not create efficiency. It just makes schools segregated by cream skimming – better FB pupils produce reputation of the school and attract better FB pupils to come.
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