School Sector Differences in Student Achievement in Australian Primary and Secondary Schools: A Longitudinal Analysis

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Journal of School Choice, ISSN: 1558-2167, Vol: 9, Issue: 2, Page: 219-238

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Gary N. Marks
Informa UK Limited; Routledge
Social Sciences; student achievement; national testing programs; school differences; nongovernment schools; socioeconomic background; prior achievement; Educational Sociology
article description
This article examines school sector differences in student performance Years 3, 5, and 7 in numeracy, reading, writing, spelling and grammar using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and the national testing program (NAPLAN). At each of the 3 Year levels, there are sizable school sector differences with students from independent schools exhibiting the substantially higher mean scores than Catholic and government school students. However, school sector differences in Years 3 and 5 largely disappear when taking into account students’ socioeconomic position and especially prior ability. In Year 7, there is evidence of value added effects for attending an independent school in numeracy, reading and writing but the effect sizes are quite small (around 0.10). Fixed effects analyses confirm small significant value-added effects for attending independent schools for numeracy and reading.1