Social capital and student learning: Empirical results from Latin American primary schools
This paper presents an empirical analysis of the relationship between social capital and student math and language achievement and the probability of promotion, using data gathered from fourth grade classrooms in public schools in four Latin American cities. The results suggest that social capital among teachers in a school, between teacher and students, and among the students in a classroom contribute significantly to learning achievement and the probability of promotion. Furthermore, social capital between the students matters at least as much as the teacher's social capital. Children learn from each other and the networks allowing that to happen can be very important. The current pressure on teachers to achieve results on reading and math scores has tended to push teachers to "teach to the test". Ironically, this study's results indicate that spending time in creating social capital within the classroom environment is associated with higher language and math test scores.
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