Sunday, February 7, 2010

Powerful Evidence for School Choice, Part II

I was vaguely aware the there was a school choice system in the Netherlands, but I had no idea how good it was. Nearly three-fourths of all schools are privately controlled. Not surprisingly, the Dutch score very highly compared to other nations. Here's some of the data from a recent study:

One of the key features of the Dutch education system is freedom of education—freedom to establish schools and organize teaching. Almost 70 percent of schools in the Netherlands are administered by private school boards... it is shown that the Dutch system promotes academic performance. The instrumental variables results show that private school attendance is associated with higher test scores. ...a significant part of the high achievement of Dutch students in international achievement tests is due to the institutional features associated with school choice. ...Money follows students and each school receives for each student enrolled a sum equivalent to the per capita cost of public schooling. ...achievement levels are high, while relative costs are low. ...Private school size effects in math, reading and science achievement are 0.17, 0.28 and 0.18, all significant. Given PISA’s scaling, this is close to 0.2 of a standard deviation in the case of math and science, and almost 0.3 of a standard deviation in reading. In other words, these are large effect size effects, indicating that school choice contributes to achievement in Netherlands.

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