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2009 Documento de Trabajo #258

Effective Schools do Exist: Low Income Children’s Academic Performance in Chile

The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we show that despite students’ disadvantaged backgrounds and despite not having more financial resources than similar schools, there are schools in Chile that serve low income students and that obtain superior academic outcomes. Second, we present qualitative evidence to identify school and classroom processes that might explain these good results. Specifically, we analyze a network of Chilean private voucher schools called Sociedad de Instrucción Primaria (SIP). In the econometric analysis we use a number of propensity score based estimation methods, to find that SIP students’ achievement is not due to observables or selection on measured variables. We also performed a number of interviews to SIP schools and other neighboring schools. Our qualitative analysis suggests that having children’s learning as a central and permanent goal, an aim that is shared and that drives the community’s efforts, seems to best summarize what makes SIP schools special.

Francisco Henríquez
Alejandra Mizala
Andrea Repetto

Publicado en: Applied Economic Letters 19, 2012, pp. 445-451. (doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2011.583208).

Keywords: Educational quality, effective schools, propensity score methods., school effect