School Composition and Contextual Effects on Student Outcomes
University of New Brunswick
Examine the relationships among school composition, several aspects of school and classroom context, and students' literacy skills in science.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Teacher College Record
Vol. 112, No. 4, pp. 1008-1037
- School composition is correlated with several aspects of school and classroom context and that these factors are associated with students' science literacy.
- Literacy performance is associated with the extent to which school systems are segregated "horizontally", based on the distribution among schools of students from differing SES backgrounds, and "vertically", due to mechanisms that select students into different types of schools..
- Both types of segregation, horizontal and vertical , are undesirable. Policies aimed at achieving a more inclusive school system require an understanding of the mechanisms through which students are allocated to schools.
- Countries vary substantially in their SES-adjusted level of performance and in the slopes and strength of their gradients.
- There is a statistically significant curvilinear relationship with SES for 24 of the 57 countries; however the relationship is negative, consistent with the diminishing returns hypothesis, for only four countries: Japan, Austria, Italy and Macao-China. In the other 20 countries, it is positive, indicating increasing returns for higher levels of SES.
- The estimate of horizontal segregation for the US is 23%, which is very close to the average for OECD countries, 24%.
- The estimate of vertical segregation for the US is 23%, which is well below the average for OECD countries, 33%.
- School systems that are horizontally segregated tend to be also vertically segregated; the correlation is 0.64.
- School systems with higher levels of horizontal segregation have lower mean scores on average; the correlation is -0.42.
- The relationship of country mean performance and vertical segregation is also negative; the correlation is -0.30.
- Most successful countries have low levels of horizontal segregation. And low levels of vertical segregation are also desirable in that most students benefit from learning in a mixed-ability setting.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Ability Groups, Classroom Composition, Composition, Context, SES, Science, Tracking
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
15-year-old students in 57 countries
Unit of Analysis:
Classroom, School, Student
- Data from the 2006 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) for 57 countries.
- First Part
- DV: Student proficiency in science (science scores were classified in 6 different levels (1=less knowledge, 6= more knowledge)
- IV: Measure of SES that describes students' economic, social, and cultural background.
- Second Part
- DV: Science performance
- IV: Quality of instruction, instruction is relevant, instruction is interesting, curriculum, coverage, science time, school resources
- Key terms
- socioeconomic gradient/ learning bar: the relationship between a student outcome and SES
- school profile: how average school performance is related to school composition.
- horizontal segregation: extent to which students from differing SES backgrounds are distributed unequally across schools
- vertical segregation: based on the variation among schools in their performance that arises from early selection or the tracking of students into particular schools or school programs.