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How can School Quality and Performance be Improved? The Evidence on School Choice Simon How can School Quality and Performance be Improved? The Evidence on School Choice Simon Burgess

Introduction • Set out the issues and the economics evidence on school choice and Introduction • Set out the issues and the economics evidence on school choice and performance: – Assignment – Issues and claims – Evidence • Focus on England, brief refs elsewhere • Note – “school choice” means different things in different countries. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 2

Performance OK ? ? • Number of concerns expressed: – “Standards”: the typical level Performance OK ? ? • Number of concerns expressed: – “Standards”: the typical level of educational achievement – “Basics”: the skills achieved at the lower end of the attainment distribution – Equity: how school influences attainment gaps – by socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity – Efficiency: productivity in schools – the resources used to achieve these outcomes. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 3

Educational achievement 1988 -2008 Source: DCSF, 2007 April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo Educational achievement 1988 -2008 Source: DCSF, 2007 April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 4

International Comparison Reading Maths Science Finland 113. 0 113. 2 114. 7 Australia 106. International Comparison Reading Maths Science Finland 113. 0 113. 2 114. 7 Australia 106. 0 107. 4 107. 3 Sweden 104. 8 103. 7 102. 4 Japan 102. 9 108. 1 UK 102. 3 104. 9 Germany 102. 3 104. 1 105. 1 France 100. 8 102. 5 100. 8 Spain 95. 2 99. 4 USA - 97. 9 99. 6 OECD Average 100 100 Source: ‘PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World’ (OECD 2007) April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 5

Equity Percent 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C 2005 2006 2007 FSM 29. 9 Equity Percent 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C 2005 2006 2007 FSM 29. 9 33. 0 35. 5 Non-FSM 58. 9 61. 0 62. 8 All Pupils 54. 9 57. 3 59. 3 April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo Source: DCSF, 2007 6

Productivity Source: UKCe. MGA, ONS April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 7 Productivity Source: UKCe. MGA, ONS April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 7

Assignment Problem • Every year: – Half a million pupils allocated to seats in Assignment Problem • Every year: – Half a million pupils allocated to seats in primary schools, and half a million pupils allocated to seats in secondary schools • What’s the best system to do this? • Each system has incentives built into it, implicit or explicit. Incentives for schools, and for families. • We need to understand their impact on the actions of the players, and to adjust the system. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 8

Alternatives • Neighbourhood schooling • Elite schooling (grammar schools) • Choice-based schooling • Related Alternatives • Neighbourhood schooling • Elite schooling (grammar schools) • Choice-based schooling • Related (supply-side) policies and issues: – – Tie-breakers such as lotteries/ballots Building new schools, Academies Private schools Neighbourhood formation April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 9

Choice-based schooling • School choice has been argued to: – Raise standards (qualifications) – Choice-based schooling • School choice has been argued to: – Raise standards (qualifications) – Improve equity • Compare choice to alternative assignment mechanisms, not just by itself. • I will go through: – Evidence on the process – Evidence on the outcomes April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 10

Process of school choice • Choosers must: – be able to access more than Process of school choice • Choosers must: – be able to access more than one school – care strongly about quality – have good information about quality – generally get their preferred schools • Schools must: – gain by receiving many applications – be able to adjust to demand April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 11

Feasibility of access Percentage of pupils with three secondary schools within 2, 5, 8 Feasibility of access Percentage of pupils with three secondary schools within 2, 5, 8 km April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 12

Feasibility 2 How many pupils have a good secondary school within their nearest 3? Feasibility 2 How many pupils have a good secondary school within their nearest 3? A good school is defined as being in the top third nationally of %5 A-C. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 13

Feasibility 3 How many pupils attend their nearest school? One of the nearest 3? Feasibility 3 How many pupils attend their nearest school? One of the nearest 3? April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 14

School Distance Contours in Birmingham April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo Source: CMPO School Distance Contours in Birmingham April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo Source: CMPO 15

London primary schools, 2005/6 The Core catchment area for each school is defined as London primary schools, 2005/6 The Core catchment area for each school is defined as an admission space containing 50% of the pupils attending the school Rich Harris, CMPO. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 16

Preferences • On-going work … • We use information on primary school preferences from Preferences • On-going work … • We use information on primary school preferences from the Millennium Cohort Study. • Longitudinal dataset – currently 3 waves • Sample – Born 1 st September 2000 – 31 st August 2001 – Random sample of electoral wards • • • We look at England only Wave 3 – children are aged 5, primary school age Final sample is 9, 468 children School characteristics merged from PLASC/NPD School relative locations derived using GIS April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 17

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Admissions and Strategies • Schools and LEAs have admissions rules • Given those rules Admissions and Strategies • Schools and LEAs have admissions rules • Given those rules and their underlying preferences, families form strategies for the school preference forms (and wider: move house; tutoring; extra-curricula activities; prayer). • Game theoretic analysis of these choices. • Abdulkadiroglu, Pathak, Roth, and Sonmez – Boston and New York mechanisms • Very complex strategies potentially in England, given variety of admissions criteria. • West and co-authors have documented these rules. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 20

 • Overall, in primary schools, over 80% of those stating preferences get a • Overall, in primary schools, over 80% of those stating preferences get a place in their first preference school. • But – how did they decide their preferences? Are they “true preferences” or resigned/realistic decisions? Doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is happy. • Some suggestive evidence on quality and proximity: April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 21

Evidence on Outcomes • • Test scores Sorting Access Neighbourhood sorting • This is Evidence on Outcomes • • Test scores Sorting Access Neighbourhood sorting • This is evidence from England April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 22

Test scores • Overview: – Only a few papers in England that can reasonably Test scores • Overview: – Only a few papers in England that can reasonably be said to identify a causal effect. – Little effect on pupil progress; some weak and inconsistent positive effects here and there. – Allen and Vignoles (2009) – Burgess and Slater (2006) – Clark (2007) – Gibbons, Machin, and Silva (2008) • We use a boundary change to generate an exogenous change in degree of school choice. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 23

Schools in Berkshire with change in competition after the LEA boundary changes April 2009, Schools in Berkshire with change in competition after the LEA boundary changes April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 24

Boundary Changes • Many LEA boundaries changed, mainly between 1996 and 1999. There is Boundary Changes • Many LEA boundaries changed, mainly between 1996 and 1999. There is a strong presumption that pupils will attend a school within the LEA in which they live. • We find: no strong, significant effect of the decline in competition on pupil progress. • In all specifications, the point estimate is negative, but far from significant. • Significantly negative effect for Foundation or Voluntary Aided schools (schools with more control over their own admissions). • In another area, we do find a significant effect: CUBA (Counties that Used to Be Avon) April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 25

Boundary change in Avon April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 26 Boundary change in Avon April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 26

Sorting • Greater feasibility of school choice associated with greater sorting of pupils into Sorting • Greater feasibility of school choice associated with greater sorting of pupils into schools. • This matters because of potential peer effects in education, and wider social concerns. • Burgess et al (2007): ratio of school segregation to neighbourhood segregation is higher in areas with more feasible choice. • Others: Allen (2008) • This may or may not be a causal link. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 27

Sorting and choice Sorting: Ratio of schoolbased to neighbourhoodbased segregation on the basis of Sorting and choice Sorting: Ratio of schoolbased to neighbourhoodbased segregation on the basis of the indicated variable. Choice: Mean number of “nearby schools” each school in the LEA has, where nearby means within 10 minutes drive. Burgess et al (2007) April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 28

Neighbourhood Sorting • School assignment rules affect nature of communities around schools. • Neighbourhood Neighbourhood Sorting • School assignment rules affect nature of communities around schools. • Neighbourhood schooling leads to strong sorting by income into neighbourhoods. • More choice-based (and no proximity rule for tie-breaks) may not. • Selection does not: April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 29

Segregation on test scores. Neighbourhood sorting on the horizontal axis and school sorting on Segregation on test scores. Neighbourhood sorting on the horizontal axis and school sorting on the vertical axis. By LEA Source: Burgess et al (2007) April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 30

Access • What is the chance of pupils from poor families attending high scoring Access • What is the chance of pupils from poor families attending high scoring schools? • This matters for social mobility. • Questions: – What is the extent (if any) of a differential chance of going to a good school? – How does it happen? Comparing role of location (= proximity) and other factors – What would be the impact of increasing choice? April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 31

Access 2 • Poor children are about half as likely to go to high-scoring Access 2 • Poor children are about half as likely to go to high-scoring schools. • Much of that gap, but not all, comes through location. That is, accounting fully for location, the gap is much smaller, but not zero. • This within-location gap doesn’t vary much by degree of choice. • More support for school choice might help reduce the main barrier to attending a highscoring school: location. April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 32

Access 3 Probability of pupils attending their nearest school April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. Access 3 Probability of pupils attending their nearest school April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 33

Conclusions • Any assignment system has incentives built into it, implicit or explicit. • Conclusions • Any assignment system has incentives built into it, implicit or explicit. • Evidence for England suggests choice & competition: – does not systematically raise scores – is associated with higher sorting. – Pure neighbourhood schooling would probably yield even higher sorting of schools and communities. – Supporting choice by poor families would help reduce the socio-economic gap in quality of school attended. • More support for choice won’t work well without accompanying supply side reforms: – Fair tie-breaks, not proximity – lotteries/ballots. – Easier school expansion or take-overs – Building new schools - Academies • Choice, accountability and incentives for schools: – Consider more resources for schools admitting pupils with low scores. – Penalise schools per pupil they fail (e. g. those who do not reach a G grade). April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 34

School choice – Relevant CMPO Papers April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 35 School choice – Relevant CMPO Papers April 2009, Cambridge www. bris. ac. uk/cmpo 35