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Title: Educational effectiveness and inequalities in Chile : a multilevel accelerated longitudinal study of primary school children's achievement trajectories
Author: Ortega Ferrand, Lorena Constanza
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 2343
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Investigating the impact of schools and teachers on student achievement has become an international trend, and Educational Effectiveness Research (EER) has generally found these effects to be modest in size. The field has undergone significant methodological advances and developed new methods for estimating educational effects, favouring the study of students' growth trajectories using a multilevel longitudinal approach. This method is able to demonstrate more sizeable school and teacher effects. However, most educational longitudinal research comes from post-industrialised countries. Thus, it is still unclear whether the claims produced by this body of knowledge are pertinent to emerging economies. The present study investigates educational effects of both schools and teachers on primary students' achievement trajectories in Chile: a context of particular interest, given its socially stratified and segregated schooling system and its unregulated and diverse teacher labour force. Several properties of school and teacher effects, such as magnitude, consistency, predictors, cumulativeness and differential effects across student groups within schools are investigated using a series of multilevel growth models. By means of linking several sources of secondary data, of which some have not been used for research purposes before, rich longitudinal data on student achievement in language (Spanish) and mathematics were obtained. The resulting sample features an accelerated longitudinal design comprising of participants in 4 overlapping cohorts, together spanning Grades 3 to 8 (N = 19,704 students, and 851 language and 812 mathematics teachers, in 156 schools) and incorporates a wide range of schools, teachers and students. The quality of the data allows for the modelling of school and teacher effects on student achievement growth over time, which represents a clear improvement when compared to previous measures of educational effectiveness developed in the Chilean and Latin-American context, which cover two time points at most. Furthermore, the study is the first in the region that annually matches students with their teachers, and models the relationships between students and their successive classroom settings. This study's main findings on student achievement trajectories indicate non-linear upward growth on student achievement for both language and mathematics in primary school. In addition, individual students differ substantially in both their achievement status and their rate of development over time. In language, a gender gap favouring girls that remains stable across primary school was found. In mathematics, in turn, the gender gap reverses in favour of boys and increases from 3rd to 8th grade. An achievement gap between high- and low-socioeconomic status (SES) students is also present from 3rd grade, and remains fairly constant over the course of the primary school years. School effects on students' growth trajectories were found to be sizeable (in fact, larger than those found in previous studies using similar model specifications and outcomes in the other national contexts) and moderately consistent across the two subjects. Evidence of compositional effects was found, as school achievement mean predicted achievement status on both subjects. Also, in language, the school's SES composition was found to have effects on achievement outcomes over and above the individual student's SES, supporting the double jeopardy hypothesis. The results also show that school sector (i.e., public vs. private school) differences on student achievement are largely due to differences in student intake and not to differences in school effectiveness. In both subjects, schools were found to be differentially effective across students from different socioeconomic status. In language, schools also showed differential effects associated with student gender. In addition, it was found that teacher effects in the primary school level are large, exceeding school effects, and not highly consistent across subjects. Finally, the contribution of teachers to student achievement growth was found to accumulate over time. The findings from this study add to the evidence that longitudinal studies examining student growth are more likely to demonstrate educational effects of larger magnitude than studies using covariate-adjustment and gain scores models over just two time points. This confirms that both school and teacher effects are important in shaping achievement growth. The findings also demonstrate that school and teacher contributions have stronger effects on student achievement growth than on achievement status. This study addresses three important gaps in the literature. Firstly, it explores educational effects in the context of an emerging economy, using appropriate EER models in terms of measures and specifications. Secondly, it contributes further evidence on the properties of school and teacher effects on student achievement growth. Thirdly, it advances the field methodologically by demonstrating the combined use of accelerated longitudinal designs, growth curve approaches, and cross-classified and multiple membership models.
Supervisor: Malmberg, Lars-Erik ; Sammons, Pamela Sponsor: Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education ; Elementary--Chile ; Academic achievement--Chile--Evaluation ; Teachers--Evaluation ; Education and state--Chile