The choice between fixed and random effects models: some considerations for educational research
AbstractWe discuss the use of fixed and random effects models in the context of educational research and set out the assumptions behind the two modelling approaches. To illustrate the issues that should be considered when choosing between these approaches, we analyse the determinants of pupil achievement in primary school, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. We conclude that a fixed effects approach will be preferable in scenarios where the primary interest is in policy-relevant inference of the effects of individual characteristics, but the process through which pupils are selected into schools is poorly understood or the data are too limited to adjust for the effects of selection. In this context, the robustness of the fixed effects approach to the random effects assumption is attractive, and educational researchers should consider using it, even if only to assess the robustness of estimates obtained from random effects models. On the other hand, when the selection mechanism is fairly well understood and the researcher has access to rich data, the random effects model should naturally be preferred because it can produce policy-relevant estimates while allowing a wider range of research questions to be addressed. Moreover, random effects estimators of regression coefficients and shrinkage estimators of school effects are more statistically efficient than those for fixed effects.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 10-10.
Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 18 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Quantitative Social Science. 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL
Phone: (44) (0)20 7612 6654. Eliminate (44) and add (0) if calling from inside the UK. Add (44) and eliminate (0) if calling from abroad.
Fax: (44) (0)20 7612 6686
Web page: http://www.ioe.ac.uk/study/departments/369.html
More information through EDIRC
fixed effects; random effects; multilevel modelling; education; pupil achievement;
Other versions of this item:
- Clarke, Paul & Crawford, Claire & Steele, Fiona & Vignoles, Anna, 2010. "The Choice Between Fixed and Random Effects Models: Some Considerations for Educational Research," IZA Discussion Papers 5287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Paul Clarke & Claire Crawford & Fiona Steele & Anna Vignoles, 2010. "The Choice between fixed and random effects models: some considerations for educational research," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/240, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
- C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-ECM-2010-06-26 (Econometrics)
- NEP-EDU-2010-06-26 (Education)
- NEP-URE-2010-06-26 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lindsey Macmillan).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.