Class Composition and Student Achievement: Evidence from Portugal

FEUNL Working Paper Series No. 624

28 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2018

See all articles by João Firmino

João Firmino

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Luis C. Nunes

Universidade Nova de Lisboa - Faculdade de Economia

Ana Balcão Reis

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia

Carmo Seabra

Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

We analyze the effects of several class compositional dimensions on individual student achievement. We make use of a rich dataset that allows tackling major endogeneity concerns stemming from non-random allocation of students between and within schools. We find that increasing the percentage of high achievers in a 6th grade class has a negative effect on student performance, while in a 9th grade class the effect is in general non-significant. Students with no past retentions do better with an increasing proportion of this same type of classmate. Larger shares of low-income classmates hurt performance in general. Apart from the past retention dimension in which there is evidence supporting students’ tracking, along all other compositional dimensions each class should reflect the respective school-grade population heterogeneity. Class composition rearrangements are estimated to provide a larger increment to performance than comparable reductions of class size.

Keywords: class composition; peer effects; student achievement

JEL Classification: I21

Suggested Citation

Firmino, João and Nunes, Luis Catela and Reis, Ana Balcao and Seabra, Carmo, Class Composition and Student Achievement: Evidence from Portugal (2018). FEUNL Working Paper Series No. 624, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3146904 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3146904

João Firmino (Contact Author)

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

Luis Catela Nunes

Universidade Nova de Lisboa - Faculdade de Economia ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal

Ana Balcao Reis

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal

Carmo Seabra

Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal

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