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What Makes a Test Score ? The Respective Contributions of Pupils, Schools and Peers in Achievement in English Primary Education

  • Francis Kramarz

    (Crest)

  • Stephen Machin

    (Crest)

  • Amine Ouazad

    (Crest)

This study develops an analytical framework for evaluating the respective contributions of pupils,peers, and school quality in affecting educational achievement. We implement this frame-workusing rich data from England that matches pupils to their primary schools. The dataset records allEnglish pupils and their test scores in Key Stage 1 (age 7) and Key Stage 2 (age 11) nationalexaminations. The quality of the data source, coupled with our econometric techniques, allows us toassess the respective importance of different educational inputs. We can distinguish school effects,that affect all pupils irrespective of their year and grade of study, from school-grade-year effects.Identification of pupil effects separately from these school-grade-year effects is achieved becausestudents are mobile across schools. Peer effects are identified assuming variations in school-gradeyeargroup composition in adjacent years are exogenous. We estimate three different specifications,the most general allowing Key Stage 2 results to be affected by the Key Stage 1 school(-grade-year)at which the pupil studied. We discuss the validity of our various exogeneity assumptions.Estimation results show statistically significant pupil ability, school and peer effects. Our analysissuggests the following ranking: pupils' ability and background are more important than school timeinvariantinputs. Peer effects are significant, but small.

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Paper provided by Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique in its series Working Papers with number 2008-21.

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Length: 50
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2008-21
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