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Resources and Standards in Urban Schools

  • Machin, Stephen

    ()

    (University College London)

  • McNally, Sandra

    ()

    (London School of Economics)

  • Meghir, Costas

    ()

    (Yale University)

Despite being central to government education policy in many countries, there remains considerable debate about whether resources matter for pupil outcomes. In this paper we look at this question by considering an English education policy initiative – Excellence in Cities – which has been a flagship policy aimed at raising standards in inner-city secondary schools. We report results showing a positive impact of the extra resources on school attendance and performance in Mathematics (though not for English) but, interestingly, there is a marked heterogeneity in the effectiveness of the policy. Its greatest impact has been in more disadvantaged schools and on the performance of middle and high ability students within these schools. A back-of-envelope cost-benefit calculation suggests the policy to be cost-effective. We conclude that additional resources can matter for children in the poorest secondary schools, particularly when building on a solid educational or ability background. However, small changes in resources have little or no effect on the ‘hard to reach’ children who have not achieved a sufficiently strong prior level.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2653.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Human Capital, 2010, 4 (4), 365-393
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2653
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  1. Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," NBER Working Papers 6051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," NBER Working Papers 8875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2005. "Targeted Remedial Education for Underperforming Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 839-874, October.
  5. Bénabou, Roland & Kramarz, Francis & Prost, Corinne, 2005. "The French Zones D'Education Prioritaire: Much Ado About Nothing?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Krueger, Alan B & Whitmore, Diane M, 2001. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 1-28, January.
  8. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Improving Pupil Performance in English Secondary Schools: Excellence in Cities," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 396-405, 04/05.
  9. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2004. "Evaluating the Employment Impact of a Mandatory Job Search Program," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 569-606, 06.
  10. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
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