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School Composition and Educational Impacts: Four Papers on Socioeconomic Segregation and Peer Effects

Gutierrez Cofre, Gabriel; (2019) School Composition and Educational Impacts: Four Papers on Socioeconomic Segregation and Peer Effects. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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For decades the stratification of educational systems and schools’ socioeconomic composition have been observed as potential causes of inequalities in achievement across social groups. In Chile, these concerns are intertwined with a context of policies promoting both school choice and between-school competition. This work focuses on assessing the evolution of schools’ socioeconomic segregation during recent decades and estimating the short- and long-term effects of classmates' characteristics on student academic outcomes. The first chapter offers a description of the Chilean educational system (as most of the following chapters will use data from this country) and its challenges regarding educational inequality and the separation of social groups across schools. Chapter 2 provides an international comparison of socioeconomic segregation trends in 34 educational systems based on a measure of Dissimilarity (Duncan index). Chapter 3 analyses trends of segregation in Chile since 1999 (using the Square Root Index) and provides new information about how the separation of students from different backgrounds is distributed across school types and related to specific features of the market-oriented system. In Chapter 4, the impact of the socioeconomic characteristics of primary school classmates on secondary level academic outcomes is estimated and analysed. Finally, Chapter 5 continues to investigate the effects of the peer characteristics, but instead focusing on the impact of their academic attributes in the long-run (observing outcomes in entrance to higher education). The findings in this work suggest that school socioeconomic segregation has not varied significantly over time, either in Chile or other educational systems. Moreover, segregation appears to be impervious to recent attempts to affect schools' social composition. In the case of Chile, features of the system (such as co-payments and student selection) are correlated with greater segregation. However, a significant proportion of the segregation is attributable to within-sector segregation, which may be reflecting parental preferences. Estimates—using a school fixed effects approach—also confirm that students benefit academically from being exposed to wealthier peers at the primary level. Moreover, a more socioeconomically diverse classroom does not lead to negative results. Although the socioeconomic background of the former classroom members exerts a relatively small effect, the impact appears to endure over time (at least in Mathematics). The impact of academic characteristics is negative, suggesting that being exposed to more talented classmates at the primary level has detrimental effects on students' performance on higher education entrance examinations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: School Composition and Educational Impacts: Four Papers on Socioeconomic Segregation and Peer Effects
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075819
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