nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2019‒04‒29
two papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Achievement Gains from Attendance at Selective High Schools By Brendan Houng; Chris Ryan

  1. By: Brendan Houng (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Chris Ryan (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: Selective high schools are a polarizing topic in education policy, despite only having a small presence in some Australian states. These schools perform exceptionally well when their students’ educational and career outcomes are considered, but this is perhaps unsurprising because admission is based on academic performance. This paper asks whether academically selective schools improve their students’ university entrance results beyond what they would have achieved otherwise. Following a cohort of students through high school from an anonymized Australian state, we estimate the selective school effect via two methods: propensity score matching, which compares students of similar background and prior achievement, and regression discontinuity (RD), which compares marginal selective and non-selective students on the basis of the entrance exam. Our results point to small effects in terms of university entrance ranks, which is consistent with findings from similar studies in the UK, the USA, and other Australian research. Overall, the small selective school effect appears to reflect the high levels of educational aspiration of both selective students as well as applicants who attended other schools. Both groups of students appear to be among the most driven and motivated, being disproportionately from immigrant and socio-economically advantaged backgrounds, and having implicitly signaled an aspirational intent by applying to the schools.
    Keywords: Education, Selective Schools, Academic Selection, Academic Achievement
    JEL: I2 I21 J24
    Date: 2018–06
  2. By: Chang, Tongshan
    Abstract: This study examines how student pre-college participation in extracurricular activities and volunteer and community services varies by demographic and academic variables, and how their experience participating in these activities affects first-year college engagement and learning outcomes. The analysis focuses on students at the University of California’s (UC) nine undergraduate campuses and is based on the self-reported data that compares their high school experience with their first year experience at UC. Students differ significantly in their participation in precollege activities by gender, ethnicity, family income, and college admissions status. URM’s and socioeconomically disadvantaged students are less likely to participate in these activities. Those who are admitted to UC are likely to participate in more precollege activities. The study also shows that there is a positive correlation between student precollege participation in these activities and their college experience, academic and civic engagement although the relationship is rather weak. The results also reveal that the participation in extracurricular activities and volunteer and community services is a significant predictor on first-year GPA and persistence. The more activities students participate in, the higher their first-year GPA is and the more likely they persist with their current college programs. These findings will be useful for effective development of admissions policy and enrollment management. It also may help high schools and universities to expand or re-organize their out-of-class activities to encourage greater student engagement for targeted populations.
    Keywords: Education
    Date: 2017–04–25

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