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The relationship between school violence and student proficiency

  • Severnini, Edson
  • Firpo, Sergio Pinheiro

School violence has recently become a central concern among teachers, students, students' parents and policymakers. Violence can induce behaviors on educational agents that go against the goals of improving the quality of education and increasing school attendance. In fact, there is evidence that school environmental characteristics and student performance and behavior at school are related. Although school violence may have a direct impact on students’ performance, such impact has not yet been quantified. In this paper, we investigate this issue using Brazilian data and show that, on average, students who attended more violent schools had worse proficiency on a centralized test carried out by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, even when we controlled for school, class, teachers and student characteristics. We also show that school violence affects more the students from the bottom of the proficiency distribution. Furthermore, we find out that besides the direct effect on student proficiency, it seems that school violence has an indirect effect on it operating through teacher turnover. Indeed, we show that the occurrence of violent episodes in a school decreases the probability of a class in that school having only one teacher during the academic year, and increases the probability of that class having more than one teacher (teacher turnover).

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Paper provided by Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 236.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fgv:eesptd:236
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  1. David Card & Jesse Rothstein, 2006. "Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," NBER Working Papers 12078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  3. Jeffrey Grogger, 1997. "Local Violence and Educational Attainment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 659-682.
  4. David N. Figlio, 2005. "Boys Named Sue: Disruptive Children and their Peers," NBER Working Papers 11277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Dominic Brewer & Daniel Goldhaber, 1995. "Do teachers' race, gender, and ethnicity matter? Evidence from the NELS," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(3), pages 547-561, April.
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