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ERIC Number: EJ1015383
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun-10
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1068-2341
Patterns in Student Assignment to Elementary School Classrooms
Bosworth, Ryan; Li, Hao
Education Policy Analysis Archives, v21 n51 Jun 2013
In an effort to better understand aggregate patterns in the way elementary school students are assigned to classes, we conduct a careful analysis of observed classroom assignment outcomes in the 5th grade in North Carolina elementary schools. First, we model the probability that a pair of students are classmates as a function of the characteristics of that pair of students. This novel methodological technique enables us to directly observe the degree to which actual assignment patterns differ from what might be expected under random assignment for a wide variety of student characteristics. Second, we analyze patterns in classroom assignment and discuss the implications of these patterns. We show that classroom assignments tend to deviate from random assignment in a way that tends to group similar students and that these deviations tend to be greatly magnified in Magnet schools. Importantly, we find evidence that administrators sort students based on attributes not normally observable by researchers. These findings have important implications for researchers using value-added modeling (VAM) techniques. Finally, we find that classroom assignment patterns are generally stable across the racial, income, and geographic characteristics of schools. (Contains 5 tables, 4 figures, and 6 footnotes.)
Colleges of Education at Arizona State University and the University of South Florida. c/o Editor, USF EDU162, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620-5650. Tel: 813-974-3400; Fax: 813-974-3826; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A