School and Family Effects on Educational Outcomes Across Countries


Freeman RB, Viarengo M. School and Family Effects on Educational Outcomes Across Countries. Economic Policy. 2014;29 (79).


This study analyzes the link between student test scores and the school students attend, the policies and practices of the schools, students’ family background and their parents’ involvement in their education using data from the 2009 wave of the Program for International Student Assessment. We find that 1) a substantial proportion of the variation of test scores within countries is associated with the school students attend; 2) a sizable proportion of the school fixed effects is associated with school policies and teaching practices beyond national policies or other mechanisms that sort students of differing abilities among schools; 3) school fixed effects are a major pathway for the link between family background and test scores. The implication is that what schools do is important in the level and dispersion of test scores, suggesting the value of further analysis of what goes in schools to pin down causal links between policies and practices and test score outcomes.

Last updated on 05/26/2014