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Serving the Poor Differently: The Effects of Private and Public Schools on Children’s Academic Achievement in Basic Education in Mexico

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Abstract:

Private elementary and lower-secondary schools are usually seen as an alternative to public education for wealthy families. However, in many developing countries, private schools serve an increasing number of middle-class and poor students. In Mexico, for instance, affordable private schools are starting to help meet the excess demand for elementary and lower-secondary education and, in the process, releasing pressure on an overflowing public educational system. Also, with Mexico’s basic public schools -- especially those attended by the poor -- facing problems of inadequate resources, prolonged teacher strikes, and low scores for their students on standardized tests -- it should not come as a surprise that middle-class and poor parents who are seeking educational quality are starting to enroll their children in affordable elementary and lower-secondary private schools.

It is often simply assumed that private schools are more effective than their public school counterparts in enhancing their students’ academic achievement. However, there is no sound empirical evidence, as yet, that this assumption holds for the affordable private schools that are now being chosen by the poor in Mexico, and whose performance I propose to examine in my presentation, nor is there any indication as to what the determinants of any differential in student achievement, by sector, might be. In addition to investigating differences in student academic performance between the public and private sectors in Mexico, at the elementary and lower-secondary levels, I also intent to show how any achievement differential that I detect differs by important features of the educational system in Mexico, including teacher quality, physical resources, and peer group composition. In my presentation, I use data on primary and lower-secondary students from poor families, who participated in the Quality and Educational Achievement Test assessment (EXCALE) conducted by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE), during the academic year 2004-2005. The results that I will present will be observational, rather than experimental (in which children would be randomized to private and public schools) and so, I will also use propensity score-matching to assess the sensitivity of my findings to selection bias.

In my presentation I will address whether there is a private school advantage in Mexico, particularly among poor students. As suggested above, I will show the extent to which any private school advantage stems from differences in the quality of resources available in the schools -- in particular, the teacher quality and physical resources, and differences in the students’ peer group composition. The specific questions that I will answer in my presentation are the following:
1. Are private schools more effective than public school in enhancing the achievement, in Spanish, of poor students in basic education in Mexico?
2. Does any private-school advantage stem from the enhanced teacher quality, the higher levels of physical resources and the higher quality of peer group composition that characterizes private schools?

For the research that inform my presentation, I will use data from the first implementation of the Exámenes de Calidad y Logro Educativo (EXCALE), a testing exercise conducted in Mexico by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE) in May and June of 2005.
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Association:
Name: 57th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p642095_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Trevino, German. "Serving the Poor Differently: The Effects of Private and Public Schools on Children’s Academic Achievement in Basic Education in Mexico" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 57th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Hilton Riverside Hotel, New Orleans, LA, Mar 10, 2013 <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p642095_index.html>

APA Citation:

Trevino, G. , 2013-03-10 "Serving the Poor Differently: The Effects of Private and Public Schools on Children’s Academic Achievement in Basic Education in Mexico" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 57th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Hilton Riverside Hotel, New Orleans, LA <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p642095_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Private elementary and lower-secondary schools are usually seen as an alternative to public education for wealthy families. However, in many developing countries, private schools serve an increasing number of middle-class and poor students. In Mexico, for instance, affordable private schools are starting to help meet the excess demand for elementary and lower-secondary education and, in the process, releasing pressure on an overflowing public educational system. Also, with Mexico’s basic public schools -- especially those attended by the poor -- facing problems of inadequate resources, prolonged teacher strikes, and low scores for their students on standardized tests -- it should not come as a surprise that middle-class and poor parents who are seeking educational quality are starting to enroll their children in affordable elementary and lower-secondary private schools.

It is often simply assumed that private schools are more effective than their public school counterparts in enhancing their students’ academic achievement. However, there is no sound empirical evidence, as yet, that this assumption holds for the affordable private schools that are now being chosen by the poor in Mexico, and whose performance I propose to examine in my presentation, nor is there any indication as to what the determinants of any differential in student achievement, by sector, might be. In addition to investigating differences in student academic performance between the public and private sectors in Mexico, at the elementary and lower-secondary levels, I also intent to show how any achievement differential that I detect differs by important features of the educational system in Mexico, including teacher quality, physical resources, and peer group composition. In my presentation, I use data on primary and lower-secondary students from poor families, who participated in the Quality and Educational Achievement Test assessment (EXCALE) conducted by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE), during the academic year 2004-2005. The results that I will present will be observational, rather than experimental (in which children would be randomized to private and public schools) and so, I will also use propensity score-matching to assess the sensitivity of my findings to selection bias.

In my presentation I will address whether there is a private school advantage in Mexico, particularly among poor students. As suggested above, I will show the extent to which any private school advantage stems from differences in the quality of resources available in the schools -- in particular, the teacher quality and physical resources, and differences in the students’ peer group composition. The specific questions that I will answer in my presentation are the following:
1. Are private schools more effective than public school in enhancing the achievement, in Spanish, of poor students in basic education in Mexico?
2. Does any private-school advantage stem from the enhanced teacher quality, the higher levels of physical resources and the higher quality of peer group composition that characterizes private schools?

For the research that inform my presentation, I will use data from the first implementation of the Exámenes de Calidad y Logro Educativo (EXCALE), a testing exercise conducted in Mexico by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE) in May and June of 2005.


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