ERIC Number: ED462754
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
How Effective Are Private Schools in Latin America? Occasional Paper.
Somers, Marie-Andree; McEwan, Patrick J.; Willms, J. Douglas
Using multilevel modeling and data from 10 Latin American countries, this paper provides new evidence on the relative effectiveness of public and private schools. There are substantial differences in the achievement of private and public schools, usually around one-half a standard deviation. A small portion of these differences is accounted for by the higher socioeconomic status of students in private schools. A substantial portion is explained by the varying peer-group characteristics in private and public schools. After accounting for peer characteristics, the average private-school effect across all 10 countries is zero, though with some variance around this mean (the effects range between -0.2 and 0.2 standard deviations). Evidence on selection bias is inconclusive, but the paper argues that these effects may constitute an upper boundary to the true effects. These results may help in predicting the impact of relatively small voucher programs. In this respect, transferring students to private schools would yield substantial increases in student achievement, remembering, however, the strong evidence that most of these gains would arise from the beneficial effect of "better" peer groups, as opposed to greater school effectiveness. Hence, the policy usefulness of the current empirical evidence should not be overstated. (Contains 68 references, 7 tables, and 2 figures.) (RT)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.