Is there a net advantage of private schools
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Is There a Net Advantage of Private Schools?. Timothy Lum Department of Sociology University of Washington UWBHS Conference October 19th, 2007. Research Question.

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Is There a Net Advantage of Private Schools?

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Is there a net advantage of private schools

Is There a Net Advantage of Private Schools?

Timothy Lum

Department of Sociology

University of Washington

UWBHS Conference

October 19th, 2007


Research question

Research Question

  • Are private schools really better at sending students to college because of school quality or because of the students they admit?


Background

Background

  • Education is the major avenue of opportunity in the United States

    • Then, improvement of schools is major policy goal

  • But what are good schools?

    • Most research has shown that home environment is more influential


Research on school effects

Research on School Effects

  • Students in private schools

    • Better test scores and are more likely to go to college, net of family SES

  • But questions remain:

    • Selectivity of students

    • Private school mechanisms

      • Teaching

      • Peers

      • Discipline


Self selection

Self Selection


Is there a net advantage of private schools

Data

  • UWBHS 2003 - 2005 student responses including follow-up survey

  • Only public and private schools that were included in the 2003 survey

  • Alternative schools not included

  • Final sample - 7,163

  • Follow-up sample - 6,668

  • 13 percent in private schools


Educational outcomes

Educational Outcomes

  • Ambitional

    • “How far would you like to go…”

    • “Realistically…how far do you think…”

    • “Do you plan to go on to college…this fall”

  • Behavioral

    • Actual enrollment at any college or a four-year college


Educational outcomes1

Educational Outcomes


Educational outcomes2

Educational Outcomes


Variables used in analysis

Variables Used in Analysis

  • Self-Selection

    • Family background variables

    • Family motivation

    • Demographics

  • School Quality

    • Teaching quality

    • School environment

    • Peer effects and motivation


Findings

Findings

  • Private school attendance makes a difference

    • Despite controlling for self selection

    • Inspite of differences in student’s perceptions of school quality

  • Let’s examine the relative odds ratio of the private school indicator…


Odds ratio of private school attendance

Odds Ratio of Private School Attendance


Findings1

Findings

  • As the reality of the ambition increases, the influence of family socioeconomic background and selection variables increases with it


Odds ratio of private school attendance1

Odds Ratio of Private School Attendance


Findings2

Findings

  • As the reality of the ambition increases, the influence of family socioeconomic background and selection variables increases with it

  • Transitioning between ambitions and behavior, family socioeconomic status becomes the major explanation


Findings3

Findings

  • Only one consistently significant “quality” variable - Peer motivation

  • Peer motivation and influences have the single largest effect on college ambitions and attendance

  • Could be classified as both a selection and quality variable - unsure of the true source of influence


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Selection is a very important factor in determining the differences between public and private schools - much more so than school quality variables

  • Peer influence and motivation for college is the single most important factor

  • These findings reinforce the previous research done since the 1960s


Conclusion1

Conclusion

  • Some other aspects of private schools unexplained in this study… both unmeasured self-selection and unmeasured school quality

  • Future research

    • Origin of peer selection - parental or individual

    • Need to control for some aspect of previous ability and whether it was used in the selection process for schools


Questions

Questions?


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