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The Effectiveness of English Secondary Schools for Pupils of Different Ability Levels

  • Lorraine Dearden
  • John Micklewright
  • Anna Vignoles

'League table' information on school effectiveness in England generally relies on either a comparison of the average outcomes of pupils by school, e.g. mean exam scores, or on estimates of the average value added by each school. These approaches assume that the information parents and policy-makers need most to judge school effectiveness is the average achievement level or gain in a particular school. Yet schools can be differentially effective for children with differing levels of prior attainment. We present evidence on the extent of differential effectiveness in English secondary schools, and find that even the most conservative estimate suggests that around one quarter of schools in England are differentially effective for students of differing prior ability levels. This affects an even larger proportion of children as larger schools are more likely to be differentially effective.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-5890.2011.00134.x
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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 225-244

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:32:y:2011:i::p:225-244
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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
  2. Figlio, David N. & Page, Marianne E., 2002. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Inequality?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 497-514, May.
  3. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Harvey Goldstein & Simon Burgess & Brendon McConnell, 2007. "Modelling the effect of pupil mobility on school differences in educational achievement," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(4), pages 941-954.
  5. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2008. "Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 14415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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