Social Segregation in Secondary Schools: How Does England Compare with Other Countries?

39 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2006

See all articles by Stephen P. Jenkins

Stephen P. Jenkins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

John Micklewright

Institute of Education; 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

Date Written: January 2006

Abstract

We provide new evidence about the degree of social segregation in England's secondary schools, employing a cross-national perspective. Analysis is based on data for 27 rich industrialised countries from the 2000 and 2003 rounds of the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA), using a number of different measures of social background and of segregation, and allowing for sampling variation in the estimates. England is shown to be a middle-ranking country, as is the USA. High segregation countries include Austria, Belgium, Germany and Hungary. Low segregation countries include the four Nordic countries and Scotland. In explaining England's position, we argue that its segregation is mostly accounted for by unevenness in social background in the state school sector. Focusing on this sector, we show that cross-country differences in segregation are associated with the prevalence of selective choice of pupils by schools. Low-segregation countries such as those in the Nordic area and Scotland have negligible selection in schools. High segregation countries like Austria, Germany and Hungary have separate school tracks for academic and vocational schooling and, in each case, over half of this is accounted for by unevenness in social background between the different tracks rather than by differences within each track.

Keywords: social segregation, secondary schools, England, cross-national comparison

JEL Classification: D39, I21, I39

Suggested Citation

Jenkins, Stephen P. and Micklewright, John and Schnepf, Sylke V., Social Segregation in Secondary Schools: How Does England Compare with Other Countries? (January 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1959, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=881567

Stephen P. Jenkins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration ( email )

Houghton Street
London, England WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
+44 120 687 3374 (Phone)
+44 120 687 3151 (Fax)

John Micklewright (Contact Author)

Institute of Education ( email )

20 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ioe.ac.uk/staff/QSSE/QSSE_30.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
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

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