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C AN SCHOOL COMPETITION IMPROVE STANDARDS ? T HE CASE OF FAITH SCHOOLS IN E NGLAND Rebecca Allen and Anna Vignoles Institute of Education, University of.

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Presentation on theme: "C AN SCHOOL COMPETITION IMPROVE STANDARDS ? T HE CASE OF FAITH SCHOOLS IN E NGLAND Rebecca Allen and Anna Vignoles Institute of Education, University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 C AN SCHOOL COMPETITION IMPROVE STANDARDS ? T HE CASE OF FAITH SCHOOLS IN E NGLAND Rebecca Allen and Anna Vignoles Institute of Education, University of London Presentation to PLASC/NPD User Group 18 th November 2008

2 M OTIVATION FOR PAPER Faith schools, choice, competition improve standards or sorting? Endogenity problem Inconclusive UK competition literature Claims of the effectiveness of faith school competition in US and Canada

3 O UTLINE OF TALK 1. Institutional background 2. Choice and competition between the faith and non-faith sectors 3. Estimation strategy and data 4. Results – competition and pupil achievement 5. Faith schools and pupil sorting

4 I NSTITUTIONAL BACKGROUND Growth in faith schools I: churches were the main providers of 19 th century education Growth in faith schools II: 1902 Education Act set up the Dual System of state schooling, with mass building of schools by churches in 15 years following the Act to prevent state displacing church Growth in faith schools III: expansion in RC schools in 1950s/60s, taking advantage of government loan scheme Today, religious schools in the state-maintained system educate about 15 per cent of secondary aged children (two-thirds are Roman Catholic, most of rest are CofE) Almost all are Voluntary-Aided (VA) rather than Voluntary-Controlled (VC)

5 W HO CAN FEASIBLY CHOOSE A FAITH SCHOOL ? Typical admissions policy at a faith school prioritises: 1. own denomination 2. related denominations 3. other religions 4. non-religious families based on proximity Clear identification of Catholic, Anglican and non-religious families is not possible Religiosity requirements vary by school Religious self-identification of the family may not be strong The proportion of families who can feasibly choose a faith school is not directly related to the size of the underlying religious population Families can adjust church-going behaviour to satisfy requirements Demonstration of religious adherence may not be onerous or necessary Nature of competition related to size of religious population

6 I S ACTIVE CHOICE HAPPENING ? 1. If 25 per cent of pupils in an area are at VA faith schools, this is associated with a 20 percentage point increase in the proportion of pupils not at their nearest school 2. Transitions between primary and secondary school

7 S CHOOL RESPONSES TO ACTIVE CHOICE Schools are incentivised to respond to faith school competition for pupils by improving perceived school quality where: 1. Parents who are considering the religious sector have children who are seen as desirable to teach. 2. Parents who are considering the religious sector would be responsive to a change in the schools perceived quality because they value academic results highly, relative to other characteristics such as religious ethos. 3. Competing schools are closely matched in terms of pupil achievement in exams and therefore league table position.

8 S TRATEGIES TO IMPROVE PERCEIVED QUALITY 1. Effort focused on raising pupil achievement at GCSE 2. Effort focused on altering the social and ability characteristics of the pupil intake (cream- skimming)

9 A REA - WIDE EFFECT OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS ON ACHIEVEMENT Education production function: Effects of religious schools: 1. Direct effect of differences in religious vs non-religious school effectiveness 2. Competition effects 3. Changes in relative sizes of differentially effective schools 4. Changes in peer composition that impact on achievement

10 Proportion of Catholic school places in the area Pupil achievement at GCSE Catholic families Historical Catholic population Secular school quality

11 HOXBY (1994) - EFFECT OF US (PRIVATE) CATHOLIC SCHOOLS ON AREA-WIDE ACHIEVEMENT Finds 10 percentage point increase in Catholic school enrollment produces 0.9 additional years worth of educational achievement and 6% higher wages Supply of Catholic schools is instrumented using the current size of the Catholic population in the area Has pupil-level control variable of religion from National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Identifying assumption: Catholic families who live in predominantly Catholic areas are no different from Catholic families who live in areas with few other Catholic families

12 C ARD ET AL. (2008) – E FFECT OF C ANADIAN STATE - FUNDED C ATHOLIC SCHOOLS ON AREA ACHIEVEMENT Find small positive effects from competition in the area of Ontario between grades 3 and 6 Use school fixed effects specification of test score growth (with repeated cross-sectional pupil-level data for 5 cohorts) Identification strategy: comparisons between areas with different fractions of Catholic families and different rates of growth of housing stock

13 Proportion of Catholic school places in the area Pupil achievement at GCSE Catholic families Historical Catholic population Secular school quality

14 P UPIL - LEVEL ACHIEVEMENT MODELS o Estimated using large ancient counties (39), so little sorting across areas based on unobserved characteristics o Wide range of area-wide controls, including religious composition of area from Census and Church surveys

15 I NSTRUMENTING CATHOLIC SCHOOL SUPPLY Taking specification 1, but treating %RCsch as endogenous to modern-day demand for Catholic schooling: First stage uses Catholic populations in ancient counties in 1931, which predicts %RCsch (F-value 20.81): Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) identifies the effects of variation in supply of Catholic schools resulting from historical differences in the size of the Catholic population, holding constant modern-day Catholic church-going in the county.

16 D ATA National pupil database: school leavers (age 16) in 2005, matched to KS4, KS3, KS2 Outcome variables: GCSE capped to best 8 subjects English, maths and science GCSE (best score in each subject) Pupil control variables: NPD indicators (FSM, EAL, SEN etc…) KS2 marks data separately for English, maths and science Deprivation indicators (IMD and 57 ACORN dummies) Ancient county control variables Pupil-level characteristics aggregated up to county English Church Census 2005 Religious proportions from 2001 Census of Population

17 R ESULTS – COMPETITION FROM FAITH SCHOOLS

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19 R ESULTS – COMPETITION FROM CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

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21 F AITH SCHOOLS IN THE LOCAL COMPETITION SPACE Each school has a unique competition space – nearest 9 secondary schools by distance (single sex school adjustment) For each school, where does it sit in the local schooling hierarchy in terms of FSM and top ability intake composition? For each school, how stratified is the local schooling hierarchy and is this related to the number of faith schools in the competition space?

22 10 SCHOOL COMPETITION SPACE BY FSM COMPOSITION OF PUPIL INTAKE

23 10 SCHOOL COMPETITION SPACE BY TOP ABILITY COMPOSITION OF PUPIL INTAKE

24 R ELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NUMBER OF FAITH SCHOOLS IN LOCAL SCHOOLING HIERARCHY AND INTAKE STRATIFICATION

25 A SSOCIATION BETWEEN % FAITH SCHOOLS IN ANCIENT COUNTY AND INTAKE STRATIFICATION D (FSM)D (Top ability) % faith schools % Catholic schools

26 A SSOCIATION BETWEEN % FAITH SCHOOLS IN ANCIENT COUNTY AND INCREASE IN DISPERSION OF TEST SCORES FROM KS2 TO KS4

27 C ONCLUSIONS 1. No evidence that faith schools improve (or damage) area-wide academic achievement by encouraging competition for pupils 2. Faith schools are associated with more stratified local schooling markets: Evidence of cream-skimming or parental choice strategies? Stratification lowers incentives to compete based on effort 3. Apparent effectiveness of faith schools in regressions likely due to within-area sorting based on unobservables


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