ERIC Number: ED247253
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
School Sector and Cognitive Performance: When Is a Little a Little. Report No. 350.
Alexander, Karl L.; Pallas, Aaron M.
Coleman, Hoffer and Kilgore's claims regarding the effects of Catholic schools on cognitive achievement have evoked much controversy. Critics have argued that the cross-sectional testing data Coleman et al. used could not distinguish differential sector effectiveness from selection effects, i.e., that Catholic schools enroll students of superior academic competency. The First Follow-Up (1982) of the High School and Beyond Base Year Sophomore Cohort allows a stronger design for studying this issue. Using sophomore test performance to control for input-level differences in competency while predicting senior year test performance in several cognitive domains, the "common school" effect found by Coleman and his colleagues disappears. The omission of such input controls leads to a substantial upward bias in the estimate of Catholic sector effects on achievement. The best estimate of the Catholic sector effect on cognitive growth from the sophomore to senior year, using aggregate sophomore-to-senior year change in performance as a yardstick, is about two-thirds of a year's growth. Differences of this magnitude are judged to be substantively trivial because they correspond to less than .1 standard deviations in test performance. Sector differences in test performance are too small to warrant the attention they have received. (Author/BS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD. Center for Social Organization of Schools.