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Does school autonomy improve educational outcomes? Judging the performance of foundation secondary schools in England

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  • Rebecca Allen

    () (Depatment of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.)

Abstract

Government and researchers use school performance measures such as contextual value-added to claim that giving schools autonomy from local authority control produces superior pupil performance in GCSE examinations. This paper explores the extent to which inferring causality between autonomy and pupil achievement is reasonable given that pupils are not randomly assigned to schools and schools do not randomly acquire autonomous status. Rich administrative data and the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England are used to evaluate whether CVA-style inferences are confounded by pupil characteristics that explain both the chances of attending an autonomous school and academic achievement. The assignment of grant-maintained (and thus now foundation) status through a vote of parents is used to compare school that just did, and just did not, gain autonomy over a decade ago. These alternative estimation strategies suggest there is little evidence that foundation status casually yields superior school performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca Allen, 2010. "Does school autonomy improve educational outcomes? Judging the performance of foundation secondary schools in England," DoQSS Working Papers 10-02, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1002
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    File URL: http://repec.ioe.ac.uk/REPEc/pdf/qsswp1002.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    7. Rebecca Allen, 2007. "Allocating Pupils to Their Nearest Secondary School: The Consequences for Social and Ability Stratification," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(4), pages 751-770, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruth Lupton & Stephanie Thomson, 2017. "The Effects of English Secondary School System Reforms (2002-2014) on Pupil Sorting and Social Segregation: A Greater Manchester Case Study," CASE - Social Policy in a Cold Climate Working Paper 24, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    school autonomy; school effectiveness; foundation schools;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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