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Private Schools in India: More Learning, More Inequality

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Caine Rolleston and Rhiannon Moore tackle the following questions: What are the characteristics of children attending different school types? How do learning and learning progress compare across different types of school? How does this change when we include controls for student background? Within private schools, what is the relationship between fees paid and learning gains? Considering all of these things, what are the implications for equity within the Indian education system?

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Private Schools in India: More Learning, More Inequality

  1. 1. Private Schools in India: More Learning, More Inequality? Caine Rolleston (UCL) Rhiannon Moore (Oxford)
  2. 2. A Thorny Debate? 1. Growing enrolmentin private schools across India • Driven by both rising demand (incomes, preferences) and supply 2. Some evidence of better learning progressin private schools • Potentially widening gaps • Potential knock-on effects in government system e.g. weakening accountability 3. Some evidence of greater efficiencyin low-cost private schools • Even if outcomes are the same, low fee private schools often have much lower unit costs than government schools (especially teacher salaries) 4. But evidence that choice and competition benefit all studentsis much less clear • Overall (in govt and private) learning levels are low – little evidence of ‘a rising tide lifting all ships’; potential widening inequality Fortunately, we don’t attempt to answer all these questions
  3. 3. 1. What are the characteristics of children attending different school types? 2. How do learning and learning progress compare across different types of school? How does this change when we include controls for student background? 3. Within private schools, what is the relationship between fees paid and learning gains? 4. Considering all of these things, what are the implications for equity within the Indian education system? Our Questions
  4. 4. Young Lives School Survey - India India Secondary School Survey (2016-17) • Grade 9 students • Four different types of school • Progress in Maths and English in Grade 9 • Tests at the beginning & end of the school year • School, teacher and student background data
  5. 5. Young Lives School Survey: Sample Sample designto explore school choice available in each of the 20 Young Lives sites Sample stratified by 4 school types: •State government schools •Tribal/SocialWelfare schools •Private Aidedschools •Private Unaidedschools Number of schools sampled in each site proportional to the total number of schools in that site: Total number of schools in a site Proportion sampled > 80 schools 10% sampled 21-80 20% sampled 8-20 schools 50% sampled <8 schools 100% sampled (exception: less prevalent school types are oversampled)
  6. 6. Student learning across school types
  7. 7. A lot of variation in test scores There is considerable variation in mean maths test scores at Wave 1 and Wave 2.400500600700 300 400 500 600 700 Mean school maths score (wave 1)
  8. 8. Including variation within school types Variation within and between school management types, especially for govt schools – some very high scoring and others very low 400500600700 300 400 500 600 700 Mean school maths score (wave 1) Private Aided Private Unaided State Govt Tribal Social Welfare
  9. 9. Along with significant variation in progress By the end of Grade 9, private unaided schools have a higher mean score and make more progress on average School type Mean maths score at start of Grade 9 Mean maths score at end of Grade 9 Mean points of progress made PrivateAided 470 483 13 Private Unaided 538 577 39 State Government 454 474 20 Tribal / Social Welfare 412 435 23 Total 500 531 31
  10. 10. • Incoming test score differences the result of prior school and home ‘inputs’ • Progress is the result of ‘continuing’ influences of home and school inputs over the year • We can control for some of the home inputs over the year • BUT certain factors like motivations are unobserved and may explain both school choice and progress What Explains Differences?
  11. 11. There are big disparities in student intake  There are large disparities in the characteristics of students attending different types of schools – wealth, gender, caste, parental education  Suggests school ‘choice’ is linked to wealth and family background (as described by Srivastava, 2007) 0 20406080 100 Percent Private Aided Private Unaided State Govt Tribal Social Welfare School Type & Wealth Terciles bottom tercile middle tercile top tercile
  12. 12. Private schools ‘add more value’ ‘Value-added’ is a statistical measure of ‘school effectiveness’. It measures how much schools or teachers ‘add’ to student learning over and above the progress they might be expected to make. Value-added can also be contextualised by adding in student background factors. -20-10 0 1020 MathsValue-Added Private Aided Private Unaided State Govt Tribal Social Welfare Mean School VA (unconditional) Mean School VA (conditional) Young Lives data suggests that private schools add more value than any of the other school types – even when we control for student background
  13. 13. A ‘quality lottery’ between private schools?
  14. 14. A lot of variation between private schools Distribution of fees charged to Grade 9 students0 .00002.00004.00006.00008 Density 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 Annual fees (rupees) kernel = epanechnikov, bandwidth = 2.5e+03 Mean: Rs.13,476 (£150); Median: Rs.12,000 (£133). We classified the private schools in our sample into 3 categories using ratio of fees/average state per capita income (method used by Kingdon, 2017)
  15. 15. Higher fees = more learning? 0 1020304050 MathsValue-Added High fee Moderate fee Low fee Mean School VA (unconditional) Mean School VA (conditional) Data suggests that school effectiveness varies by fee level – even when we control for differences in student background (more advantaged children in high fee schools)
  16. 16. Low fee offers better ‘value for money’? Do low fee schools offer better value for money? An additional 1000 rupees gets you more points of progress in a low fee school than a high fee school on average – but a lot more variation. High fee schools have a lower median but this is more guaranteed. -20 0 204060 High fee Moderate fee Low fee
  17. 17. Low fee schools more of a ‘quality lottery’ Some low fee schools add just as much value as high fee schools But high fee schools are more consistently above average – paying more for lower risk? Opting out of the ‘quality lottery’? -100 -50 0 50 100 0 20 40 60 Private schools by value-added rank High fee Moderate fee Low fee
  18. 18. Discussion and implications
  19. 19. Discussion and implications • In the Indian education system, there is too much inequality and too much poor performance – not all children have the same opportunity to meet minimum learning standards. • Data suggests that more advantaged children are ‘sorted’ into ‘better’ schools, even when the background of children is controlled for. This is true within the private school sector as well as between govt and private. • Huge variation in performance between schools, but limited information available about school performance. How are ‘school choices’ made? • Spending more appears to be a means of opting out of the ‘quality lottery’ – higher fee schools are consistently more effective. Consequences for equity?
  20. 20. Thank you! Any questions or comments?

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