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ERIC Number: ED530039
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-2045-6557
School Quality, Child Wellbeing and Parents' Satisfaction. CEE DP 103
Gibbons, Stephen; Silva, Olmo
Centre for the Economics of Education (NJ1)
In England, the "Every Child Matters" (ECM) initiative has driven important changes in educational services in order to support five key outcomes for children and young people identified by the ECM initiative, namely to "be healthy", to "stay safe", to "enjoy and achieve", to "make a positive contribution" and to "achieve economic wellbeing". The question then arises as to whether these kinds of objectives can be met in the current school context, where policy makers and parents tend to evaluate schools' excellence on the basis of academic achievement and pupils' test scores. With these issues in mind, the authors consider whether parental perceptions of school quality are based on academic standards and aligned with the wellbeing of the children. They examine children's attitudes towards their school along three dimensions: general happiness, relationships with teachers and intellectual stimulation. In parallel, they consider parents' judgement of overall school quality, and their views on teachers' relationships with their child and the progress that their child is making at school. The authors' main goal is to answer two related research questions, that is: (1) To what extent are attitudes and experiences, amongst pupils and their parents, linked to standard test-score based measures of academic performance?; and (2) To what extent are parents' perceptions of school quality linked to their children's happiness and enjoyment of school? To do so, they use direct information on stated perceptions in the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England (LSYPE) matched to UK administrative records on pupil achievements. Their analysis reveals the following key findings: (1) Parents' judgement of school quality is dominated by school average test scores, over and above other school characteristics. This is true for parents from different backgrounds and with children of all abilities; (2) However, children's self-reported happiness and satisfaction with their learning environment is unrelated to average test results in their school: children are just as happy in schools where average test scores are low as in schools where average test scores are high; (3) Parents' satisfaction and judgements of school quality are not strongly correlated with their children's enjoyment of school. Any correspondence between the subjective views of parents and children is better explained by shared family characteristics, than by anything "objective" the authors can observe about schools; and (4) Schools which receive more favourable parent and child ratings tend to have higher local house prices, but not once the authors control for standard test-based measures of school performance (such as school value-added). This reinforces the evidence that school quality as measured by test scores tends to dominate parental perceptions of educational excellence. Finally, the authors' findings show that pupil enjoyment at school is only very loosely related to school academic performance or its composition. This implies that policies that seek to address child wellbeing at school might have to be decoupled from policies that seek to raise academic standards. Appended are: (1) Details on self-reported variables and data construction; and (2) Estimating school attendance zones for housing market analysis. (Contains 11 tables and 8 footnotes.)
Centre for the Economics of Education. London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, UK. Tel: +44-20-7955-7673; Fax: +44-20-7955-7595; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department for Children, Schools and Families
Authoring Institution: London School of Economics & Political Science, Centre for the Economics of Education
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom