Non-Response Biases in Surveys of School Children: The Case of the English Pisa Samples

37 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2010  

John Micklewright

University of Southampton - Division of Social Statistics; European University Institute; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sylke V. Schnepf

University of Southampton - Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Chris J. Skinner

University of Southampton - Division of Social Statistics

Abstract

We analyse response patterns to an important survey of school children, exploiting rich auxiliary information on respondents' and non-respondents' cognitive ability that is correlated both with response and the learning achievement that the survey aims to measure. The survey is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which sets response thresholds in an attempt to control data quality. We analyse the case of England for 2000 when response rates were deemed high enough by the PISA organisers to publish the results, and 2003, when response rates were a little lower and deemed of sufficient concern for the results not to be published. We construct weights that account for the pattern of non-response using two methods, propensity scores and the GREG estimator. There is clear evidence of biases, but there is no indication that the slightly higher response rates in 2000 were associated with higher quality data. This underlines the danger of using response rate thresholds as a guide to data quality.

Keywords: non-response, bias, school survey, data linkage, PISA

JEL Classification: C83, I21

Suggested Citation

Micklewright, John and Schnepf, Sylke V. and Skinner, Chris J., Non-Response Biases in Surveys of School Children: The Case of the English Pisa Samples. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4789. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1566338

John Micklewright (Contact Author)

University of Southampton - Division of Social Statistics ( email )

Highfield, Southampton SO17 1B
United Kingdom
(44 23) 8059 2167 (Phone)
(44 23) 8059 3846 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.socstats.soton.ac.uk/staff/micklewright/

European University Institute

Badia Fiesolana
Via dei Roccettini 9
I-50016 San Domenico Fiesole, Tuscany 50014
Italy

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Sylke V. Schnepf

University of Southampton - Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) ( email )

Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Christopher John Skinner

University of Southampton - Division of Social Statistics ( email )

Highfield, Southampton SO17 1B
United Kingdom

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