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Investigating social class inequalities in educational attainment : The effects of schools and the validity of free school meal status as a proxy for scio-economic status

Hobbs, Graham Trevor; (2007) Investigating social class inequalities in educational attainment : The effects of schools and the validity of free school meal status as a proxy for scio-economic status. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

I examine one explanation of social class differences in educational achievement, school allocation. Class differences in achievement are decomposed. One term of the decomposition is class differences in "Type A" school effectiveness. This is the effect of class differences in school allocation on class differences in achievement. Sufficient conditions to estimate causal "Type A" school effects in non-experimental data are stated. Uniquely rich birth cohort data, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), matched to the National Pupil Database (NPD), are used. The difference in effectiveness of the 20 percent most and least effective schools is two-thirds to threequarters of a standard deviation during Key Stage 2 (KS2). The majority of class differences in school effectiveness are significant. Over 20 percent of class differences in KS2 progress are explained by class differences in school allocation. Much quantitative educational research in the UK relies on free school meal (FSM) status to proxy measures of socio-economic status. In ALSP AC-NPD data, FSM status is a quite imperfect measure of low income or employment, or one-parenthood. There is a large bias when using FSM status to estimate differences in average KS2 achievement by low-income status. When used as a control variable in a model ofKS2 achievement, FSM status reduces the bias from omitting measures of socio-economic status to a limited extent only.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Investigating social class inequalities in educational attainment : The effects of schools and the validity of free school meal status as a proxy for scio-economic status
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/ProcessSearch.do?query=535734
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2007.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020538
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