Essays on the measurement of school efficiency


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Essays on the measurement of school efficiency
Huguenin J.-M.
Soguel N.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de droit et des sciences criminelles
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Measuring school efficiency is a challenging task. First, a performance measurement technique has to be selected. Within Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), one such technique, alternative models have been developed in order to deal with environmental variables. The majority of these models lead to diverging results. Second, the choice of input and output variables to be included in the efficiency analysis is often dictated by data availability. The choice of the variables remains an issue even when data is available. As a result, the choice of technique, model and variables is probably, and ultimately, a political judgement.
Multi-criteria decision analysis methods can help the decision makers to select the most suitable model. The number of selection criteria should remain parsimonious and not be oriented towards the results of the models in order to avoid opportunistic behaviour. The selection criteria should also be backed by the literature or by an expert group. Once the most suitable model is identified, the principle of permanence of methods should be applied in order to avoid a change of practices over time.
Within DEA, the two-stage model developed by Ray (1991) is the most convincing model which allows for an environmental adjustment. In this model, an efficiency analysis is conducted with DEA followed by an econometric analysis to explain the efficiency scores.
An environmental variable of particular interest, tested in this thesis, consists of the fact that operations are held, for certain schools, on multiple sites. Results show that the fact of being located on more than one site has a negative influence on efficiency. A likely way to solve this negative influence would consist of improving the use of ICT in school management and teaching. Planning new schools should also consider the advantages of being located on a unique site, which allows reaching a critical size in terms of pupils and teachers.
The fact that underprivileged pupils perform worse than privileged pupils has been public knowledge since Coleman et al. (1966). As a result, underprivileged pupils have a negative influence on school efficiency. This is confirmed by this thesis for the first time in Switzerland. Several countries have developed priority education policies in order to compensate for the negative impact of disadvantaged socioeconomic status on school performance. These policies have failed. As a result, other actions need to be taken.
In order to define these actions, one has to identify the social-class differences which explain why disadvantaged children underperform. Childrearing and literary practices, health characteristics, housing stability and economic security influence pupil achievement. Rather than allocating more resources to schools, policymakers should therefore focus on related social policies. For instance, they could define pre-school, family, health, housing and benefits policies in order to improve the conditions for disadvantaged children.
School performance, Efficiency, Data Envelopment Analysis, Environmental variables, Benchmarking, Analytic Hierarchy Process
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09/10/2014 9:25
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20/08/2019 15:04
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