Are school-SES effects statistical artefacts? Evidence from longitudinal population data

Journal article


Marks, Gary. (2015) Are school-SES effects statistical artefacts? Evidence from longitudinal population data. Oxford Review of Education. 41(1), pp. 122 - 144. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2015.1006613
AuthorsMarks, Gary
Abstract

Schools’ socioeconomic status (SES) has been claimed as an important influence on student performance and there are calls for a policy response. However, there is an extensive literature which for various reasons casts doubt on the veracity of school-SES effects. This paper investigates school-SES effects with population data from a longitudinal cohort of school students which includes achievement measures in Years 3, 5 and 7. Estimates for school-SES are unstable under differing model and measurement specifications. School-SES effects are trivial controlling for student- and school-level prior ability. Inconsistent with theoretical explanations, school-SES effects were stronger with weaker SES measures. Furthermore, school-SES effects differ somewhat by achievement domain. Also contrary to expectations, there were school-SES effects on Year 7 achievement in secondary school for the primary schools students attended in Year 5. In each of five domains of achievement, fixed effect models show a small negative effect for school-SES and a small positive effect for school-level prior ability. The large school-SES effects prominent in some research and policy literatures are statistical artefacts.

Keywordsschool SES; statistical artefacts; SES; prior ability; school-level prior ability
Year2015
JournalOxford Review of Education
Journal citation41 (1), pp. 122 - 144
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN0305-4985
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2015.1006613
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84924745834
Page range122 - 144
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/85636/are-school-ses-effects-statistical-artefacts-evidence-from-longitudinal-population-data

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