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School Achievement of Pupils From the Lower Strata in Public, Private Government-Dependent and Private Government-Independent Schools: A cross-national test of the Coleman-Hoffer thesis


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  • Corten, Rense
  • Dronkers, J.


We consider the question whether pupils from the lower social strata perform better in private government-dependent schools than in public or private-independent schools, using the PISA 2000 data on European high schools. In the eighty’s, Coleman and Hoffer (1987) found in the USA that the performance of these pupils was better at religious schools than at comparable public schools. Dronkers and Robert (2003) found in PISA-data for 19 comparable countries that private government-dependent schools are more effective then comparable public schools, also after controlled for characteristics of pupils and parents and the social composition of the school. The main explanation appeared to be a better school climate in private government-dependent schools. Private independent schools were less effective than comparable public schools, but only after controlling for the social composition of the school. As a follow-up we now investigate, again with the PISA-data of these 19 countries, whether this positive effect of private government-dependent schools differs between pupils from different strata. We use various indicators to measure social strata: social, cultural and economic. We expect that the thesis of Coleman & Hoffer does hold for private government-dependent schools, because in these 19 countries they are mostly religious schools, which have more opportunities to form functional communities and create social capital. But for private independent schools, which due to their commercial foundation are less often functional communities, this relation is not expected to hold. However, the results show that public and private schools have mostly the same effects for the same kind of pupils and thus mostly not favor one kind of pupils above another kind of pupils. But private government-dependent schools are slightly more effective for pupils with less cultural capital. However, private independent schools are also more effective for pupils from large families or low status families.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21885.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Publication status: Published in Educational Research and Evaluation 2.12(2006): pp. 179-208
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21885

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Keywords: school choice; private schools; public schools; class differential effect of schools; cross-national comparison; PISA data;

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Cited by:
  1. Jorge Calero & Josep-Oriol Escardíbul, 2007. "Evaluación de servicios educativos: El rendimiento en los centros públicos y privados medido en PISA-2003," Working Papers 2007/7, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. Sebastian Galiani & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2013. "School Management in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata 0147, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 3037, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Mancebón-Torrubia, María-Jesús & Calero, Jorge & Choi, Álvaro & Ximénez-de-Embún, Domingo P., 2010. "Efficiency of public and publicly-subsidised high schools in Spain. Evidence from PISA 2006," MPRA Paper 21165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Dronkers, Jaap & Avram, S, 2010. "A Cross-national analysis of the relations between school choice and effectiveness differences between private-independent and public schools," MPRA Paper 23886, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Dronkers, J. & Robert, Peter, 2005. "School choice in the light of the effectiveness differences of various types of public and private school in 19 OECD countries," MPRA Paper 21888, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Dronkers, J & Avram, S, 2008. "Choice and Effectiveness of Private and Public Schools in six countries. A reanalysis of three PISA data sets," MPRA Paper 21578, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2009.
  8. Luis Beccaria & Pablo Alfredo Gluzmann, 2013. "Medición de los Ingresos y la Pobreza Oficial en América Latina y el Caribe," CEDLAS, Working Papers, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata 0148, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.


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