Zones d’Education Prioritaire : Quels moyens pour quels résultats ?
The ZEP (zones d’éducation prioritaire), which started in 1982, are one French example ofpositive discrimination in the education system. This program aims to improve the students’achievement in the most disadvantaged schools. It gives more financial resources to schoolsin disadvantaged zones and it encourages them to develop specific teaching projects. In thispaper, we estimate the changes in the school characteristics for the ZEP schools. We assesshow much (and which) financial resources were given to the ZEP schools. In 1990, more than10% of students in preschools and in schools from 1rst to 9th grade are in a ZEP zone, and aZEP student receives 5% more resources than a non-ZEP student. This cost is mainlycomposed of bonuses for teachers, and additional teaching hours for the school. Yet theadditional hours increase was very slow since the mean class size decreased by only 0.2student a year, compared to the changes in non-ZEP schools. Then this paper estimates theimpact of the ZEP program on individual achievement, measured here by : success at adiploma ; entry in the 4rth grade ; entry in the 2nd grade ; success at the baccalauréat. We useseveral models to estimate this impact. In order to take account of the endogeneity of the ZEPstatus, we use two methods : difference in difference and instrumental variables. A non-linearmodel is also estimated. The results are the same in all estimations : the impact on studentsuccess of the ZEP program is not significant.
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