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ERIC Number: ED556357
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-8795-5
The Effects of Catholic and Magnet Schools on 12th Grade Mathematics Achievement
Chen, Wen-Chun
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
Since the 1970s, school choice--the opting out of assigned neighborhood school for other schools--has studied extensively in American education. It is considered a possible means to equalize educational opportunity as well as to achieve educational excellence. The expansion of school choices is an ongoing trend, and so is the debate over school choice's effect on students' academic outcomes. Catholic and magnet schools are two school choices evaluated most often. This study improves previous literature on the Catholic and magnet school effects in the following respects: (1) I use a nationally representative sample that allows for greater generalizability than do local samples; (2) I apply the propensity score matching method to study the school choice effects and their heterogeneity across groups; and (3) I am able to analyze the effect of school choice at the policy levels - state and school districts that are identified with the help of the Geographic Information System (GIS). Using data from the Educational Longitudinal Study, 2000 Census, Common Core of Data, Private School Universe Survey, and School District Demographics System, the following conclusions are reached. First, Catholic schools benefit students in math learning. Such effect is especially significant for students who are least likely to attend Catholic schools. This Catholic school effect is not uniformly found among all racial/ethnic groups. White and Hispanic students benefits from choosing Catholic schools but Blacks do not. Second, within states, Catholic students, especially Whites and Hispanics, gain more than do their public school peers in math achievement. Third, students with low propensity of attending Catholic school gain more within school districts. The within-school district effect is larger and more significant in the districts where public aid for Catholic schooling is available as compared with other districts. Fourth, there is heterogeneity of Catholic school effects by national origin among Hispanics. The effect is especially large for non-Mexican Hispanics, who come from higher SES families than do Mexicans. The Catholic school effects is also larger among immigrants than natives. Fifth, no significant effect of magnet school on math achievement is obtained. Several policy implications are discussed in the dissertation. First, within a large school district that serves a large body of minority and low-income students, making Catholic schooling more available for those students is a way to improve student learning. Second, it is essential to make Catholic schooling more accessible for students who would like to participate in quality schools across school district boundaries. Third, the information about quality school choices should be distributed to as many families as possible. Fourth, learning from Catholic school experience can benefit academic achievement for public school students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 12; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A