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Class composition and student achievement: evidence from Portugal

Author

Listed:
  • Joao Firmino
  • Luis Catela Nunes
  • Ana Balcao Reis
  • Carmo Seabra

Abstract

We analyze the effects of several class compositional dimensions on individual student achievement. We make use of a rich dataset that allows tackling major endogeneity concerns stemming from non-random allocation of students between and within schools. We find that increasing the percentage of high achievers in a 6th grade class has a negative effect on student performance, while in a 9th grade class the effect is in general non-significant. Students with no past retentions do better with an increasing proportion of this same type of classmate. Larger shares of low-income classmates hurt performance in general. Apart from the past retention dimension in which there is evidence supporting students’ tracking, along all other compositional dimensions each class should reflect the respective school-grade population heterogeneity. Class composition rearrangements are estimated to provide a larger increment to performance than comparable reductions of class size.

Suggested Citation

  • Joao Firmino & Luis Catela Nunes & Ana Balcao Reis & Carmo Seabra, 2018. "Class composition and student achievement: evidence from Portugal," Nova SBE Working Paper Series wp624, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:unl:unlfep:wp624
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jules Gazeaud & Claire Ricard, 2021. "Conditional cash transfers and the learning crisis: evidence from Tayssir scale-up in Morocco," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2102, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    2. Joao Firmino & Luis C. Nunes & Silvia de Almeida & Susana Batista, 2020. "Student segregation across and within schools. The case of the Portuguese public school system," Nova SBE Working Paper Series wp633, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Class composition; peer effects; student achievement;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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