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Evaluating the magnitude and the stakes of peer effects analysing science and math achievement across OECD

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  • V. Vandenberghe

Abstract

What follows is an exercise aimed at estimating peer effects' impact on science and math test scores of secondary school students surveyed in 1995 by the International Education Agency across OECD countries. It is also to discuss their importance for educational policy, particularly regarding the highly sensitive issue of ability-grouping. Using this unique international database. This study assesses the magnitude of the peer effect relative to more traditional inputs. Referring to education policy stakes, we control for the presence of increasing or decreasing return. This study also checks for cross effects in order to determine whether peer effects matter more to low or high SES pupils, and whether their final impact on achievement is affected by the underlying level of heterogeneity within the group. Using a methodology, which a priori accounts for the clustering of the data within countries and schools/classrooms - i.e. fixed/random effect or hierarchical model - our analysis indicates that peer effects are strong determinants of both math and science achievement relative to individual SES and other school inputs. The presence of increasing of decreasing returns is not obvious. But we find systematic evidence that low-ability pupils are more sensitive to peer group characteristics. By contrast, this study also find that - for a given level of the peer effect - higher heterogeneity comes at a certain cost. In brief, these results provide no systematic evidence regarding grouping policies.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Vandenberghe, 2002. "Evaluating the magnitude and the stakes of peer effects analysing science and math achievement across OECD," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(10), pages 1283-1290.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:34:y:2002:i:10:p:1283-1290
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840110094446
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    1. Donald Robertson & James Symons, 2003. "Do Peer Groups Matter? Peer Group versus Schooling Effects on Academic Attainment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 31-53, February.
    2. Thomas J. Nechyba, 1996. "Public School Finance in a General Equilibrium Tiebout World: Equalization Programs, Peer Effects and Private School Vouchers," NBER Working Papers 5642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
    2. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Peer group effects on the academic performance of Italian students," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(17), pages 2203-2215.
    3. Vandenberghe, V. & Robin, S., 2004. "Evaluating the effectiveness of private education across countries: a comparison of methods," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 487-506, August.
    4. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2013. "Peer heterogeneity, school tracking and students' performances: evidence from PISA 2006," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(32), pages 4516-4532, November.
    5. Jean Bourdon & Katharina Michaelowa, 2006. "The Impact of Student Diversity in Secondary Schools : An Analysis of the International PISA Data and Implications for the German Education System," Post-Print halshs-00092674, HAL.
    6. Vincent Vandenberge, 2006. "Achievement effectiveness and equity: the role of tracking, grade repetition and inter-school segregation," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(11), pages 685-693.
    7. Kang, Changhui, 2007. "Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Quasi-randomization evidence from South Korea," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 458-495, May.
    8. Waltenberg, Fabio D. & Vandenberghe, Vincent, 2007. "What does it take to achieve equality of opportunity in education?: An empirical investigation based on Brazilian data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 709-723, December.
    9. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2010. "Peer Heterogeneity, Parental Background and Tracking: Evidence from PISA 2006," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-23, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    10. Martí Franquesa Oliveres & Adrián Zancajo Silla, 2010. "Descomposición del efecto inmigrante en el rendimiento académico en Cataluña según la zona origen," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5,in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 5, pages 101-116 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.

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